Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Useful to remember

When attending an event like IIW - where worlds and terminologies collide - it's easy to fall into the following trap
An Englishman, a German, and a Frenchman are debating the merits of their languages. The German claims 'German is off course ze best language. It is ze language off logic and philosophy, and can be used to communicate viz great clarity and precision!'. 'Zut Alors' shrugs the Frenchman ' French, is ze language of lurve. In la Francaise, we can convey all ze subtleties of romance with elegance and flair'. The Englishman thinks about both claims, and then says 'Yes,chaps, that's all very well. But think about this. Take the word 'spoon', for instance. You French call it 'cuillere', and you Germans call it a 'Loffel'. But in English, it's simply called a 'spoon'. And when you stop to think about it for a bit, isn't that exactly what it is?'

From 'The Unfolding of Language' by Guy Deutscher

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