[lit-ideas] Uni van Amster

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2009 12:14:18 EDT

In a message dated 6/17/2009 2:58:11 A.M.  Eastern Daylight Time, 
donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
First: I've been to  Amsterdam and they ARE parochial, and
> NOBODY can speak  
>  two languages. 
They are less parochial, arguably, than the Playgroup at  Oxford and yes 
they can speak two languages.

-----  

But that's neither here nor there. 
 
What I oppose (but totally ineffectually, since who cares?) is this  
doctrine of the Department of Philosophy (or Linguistics) in Amsterdam, or  
Antwerp (I forget) to accept a thesis called, I think, "Numerical Meanings". 
And  
then it gets reviewed in LINGUIST-L with quotes like: "For Grice, 'the' 
meaning  of this" numerical, etc. -- all very contrived prose.
 
In Nederlands (and I speak it, fluently) no such problem would have  arisen.
 
So -- why?

Well, I've been to Amsterdam -- they think they are English: they have  a 
little silly nursery rhyme which I learned by heart,
 
          witte schwanne,  swartze swanne
          will u toe Englaland  varen
 
white swan, black swan, 
will you to England take me?
 
--- It _is_ very close -- and the languages _are_ cognate (more so in  
Friesland, where I've also been -- and am a member of the Leeuwaarden Friske  
Akademie. -- Leywvert in the vernacular.
 
Indeed, when I was at the nice Uni van Amster, on a channel, I recall  
consulting Hazlitt, who wrote, majestically,
 
                 Bread, butter, and green cheese
                 is very good English and very good Friese.
 
I took the train from Amsterdam to Leeuwaarden and was warmly welcomed. 
 
But _they_ -- the Dutch -- think that they can compete with the Angles,  
speakingwise, and they can't. Dutch is a more _primitive_ language: they have  
none of the Graeco-Latin novelties that William the Conqueror brought to  
England.
 
For example, in Nederlands, they say 'musea', for the plural of 'museum';  
isn't that _archaic_?
 
And zoological garden is 'deer garden' (deer garden), where 'deer' is  
Germanic for 'animal' in general (via semantic narrowing).
 
Etc.
 
J. L. Speranza
 
 
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