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[Edit: turns out this was a joke, as I sorta suspected it MUST be, given the creed mentioned below. But it's still funny.]

Ordinarily linguists have a creed of being mild and non-judgmental about speakers of any languages and all languages, and that's a lovely thing. Which makes it all the more remarkable (and, let's face it, hilarious) when one snaps and goes after, say, the French language. (He points out it's only fair, since French speakers have been sneering at the English language since the dawn of time.)


Boy may long for girl to hold him in her warm embrace, but he won't be able to tell her that in French, because they don't have a word for "warm". They have tiède, which means "tepid", but boy doesn't long for girl to hold him in her tepid embrace. So what they use is chaud, which is the word on the hot water tap, the one that isn't froid. A language of love that was minimally functional would be able to distinguish between a warm friendship (enthusiastic discussion of topics of common interest; amicable farewell handshakes with promises to do lunch real soon) and a hot friendship (passion, heavy breathing, sudden uncontrolled couplings in shadowy doorways and on moving trains, returning home having lost underwear, midnight calls to say I have to have you right now). If boy cannot distinguish lexically between these, boy is going to be in real trouble with his relationship with girl.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 2nd, 2005 02:40 am (UTC)
Oh, wow. What, uh, ferocity! ^_^
You're right, it was quite hillarious to read.

I'm not a linguist, but, as someone who had to learn both English and French as second (and third) languages, I can say (not at all in a biased manner) that both of these lack severly. Russian language can kick both of French and English butts when it comes to having copious words to describe precisely THIS or THAT object or person, and don't even start me on all the suffixes that serve to express exactly how a speaker (or writer) feels about the object/situation/person/event. ^_^

Though, as far as learning foreign languages, I'll take English - once you get over the insane spelling (rules? you have rules for spelling? Where?) it's pretty easy, unlike French, where there is a lot more to remember.
Besides, English is really good for business talk. Russian is best for love talk or cursing ^_^
Oct. 2nd, 2005 05:49 pm (UTC)
You do seem to have learned English quite well! I always feel rather inadequate as a linguist, since none of my foreign languages are strong at all. Haven't studied Russian, but I'd like to - the sound of it is so juicy and luscious. :)
Oct. 3rd, 2005 12:20 am (UTC)
Thanks! I had emergency-type situation, which is probably the most efficient (though the least pleasant) way to learn a foreign language ^_^
And to be fair, my French has really deteriorated for lack of use.

Haven't studied Russian, but I'd like to - the sound of it is so juicy and luscious. :)
heh. thanks again. You know what language sounds REALLY luscious? Ukranian. I was on a overnight train to Chernigov once (old Ukranian city) and there was Ukranian speech in the air all around, and I realized how much like a brook it sounds.

BTW, I think I never properly introduced myself on lemonlye, since I wandered here from mollyringwraith. So, um, hi? ^_^ I really hope you get published, since I enjoy reading probably just about anything you write. I just don't ever have anything useful to say.
Oct. 3rd, 2005 04:09 am (UTC)
Pleased to "meet" you! :) That's the cool thing about LJ (well, and the web in general) - conversations with people across the globe, who share common interests with you.

Thank you, as well - I hope I get published too, but even if I don't, I imagine I'll still hang around and have fun typing to you guys. :)

Hmm, Ukrainian...I bet that one's interesting as well...probably fairly easy to learn for a native Russian speaker, as they're related...
Oct. 6th, 2005 02:44 am (UTC)
But don't get me started on those crazy verbs of motion!
Oct. 6th, 2005 02:47 am (UTC)
I think the easiest language I've learned is Scotish Gaelic. It's quite natural and organic to both learn and speak (aside from the alphabet, which can be tricky if you already know English). I think the second easiest langauge I've studied would have to be Latin, but more in a precise mathematical way than in an organic way.
Oct. 3rd, 2005 04:32 pm (UTC)
Ahahaaa! I am sending this to green_tea_lady, who is learning French right now and is exasperated with the language. I saw something like this written about German some years ago...it was quite amusing. Some of it was even written by Mark Twain, who, if I remember correctly, was disgusted with the German language.
Oct. 3rd, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC)
How do you really feel about me? Je t'aime. How's your fish? Je l'aime. Lover, haddock, whatever; it's all the same.

Oct. 9th, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC)
Oh yes...I remember a quote from Twain: "Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth." And actually when I looked that one up, I found that he has a whole page of quotes complaining about German: http://www.twainquotes.com/German.html

Hee. (This French piece, alas, turns out to have been a joke; but a joke well deserved by the French for picking on English all the time.)
Oct. 7th, 2005 10:47 pm (UTC)
This was fabulous. Thanks for the link. I'm going to post this up in my own journal.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )