For jokesters and pranksters, April Fool’s Day is the best day of the year. They have an excuse to play as many jokes and pranks as they want on the people in their lives with almost no consequences because, hey! It’s April Fool’s Day!
But April Fool’s Day isn’t just for the jokers who put sugar in salt shakers and replace the frosting between Oreo’s with toothpaste. Every year big companies take part in the fun and play huge pranks on the public. What are our favourite kind of jokes? The ones that pertain to language, of course.
In 2009, Google translate launched a fake app that claimed it would allow you to communicate with your pets and other animals. Google said that the app would allow you to understand common words for animals as well as understand all kinds of animal sounds such as meows and barks. Along with the prank app, Google released a statement saying, “We are excited to introduce Translate for Animals, an Android application which we hope will allow us to better understand our animal friends.”
In 2013, Twitter “announced” it was going to start charging users for vowels. Twitter played a prank on the public saying that a new free version called “Twttr” would not allow users to tweet with vowels and only with consonants, while “Twitter” would become a service that users would have to pay $5 dollars a month but could use vowels along with consonants. Twitter released a statement claiming that this was being done as a way to communicate more concisely and clearly. Being one of the most popular social media apps, I’m sure many people were relieved when it was revealed as a joke.
In 2015, an online dating website called Zoosk launched a language option for users where they could change the language of their profiles to Shakespearean English. Zoosk said they did this as an attempt to show that chivalry isn’t dead.
In 2016, the language-learning app Duolingo, said they created a $99 Spanish, Italian, Japanese and French pillows that would teach sleepers a language overnight, allowing them to wake up bilingual. If only learning a new language was really that easy!
Also in 2016, the Oxford Dictionaries pretended to add several fake new words, including “LOYO,” an abbreviation for “laughing on your own,” and the verb “Leo’d” whose fake definition came from actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s name, meaning to achieve something after years of trying. Even though this was a joke, we wouldn’t be surprised if some of these prank words caught on.
Lastly, in 2015 the Oxford Dictionary made , the tears of joy emoji, their word of the year. Okay, this is actually true and wasn’t a prank but let’s be honest, we all really wish it was.
Some of these pranks were so well done that they’ve gone down as some of the best jokes ever played on the internet. Who knows what legendary pranks are in store for the world this April Fool’s Day. Only time will tell!