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Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 27 Nov 2022, 12:32

SPEECH! How Language Made Us Human, by Simon Prentis. 

I've only just started but finding it very interesting. As a professional translator he provides many examples of how other languages may do something is a way that seems strange or unnatural so English speakers, only to flip the perspective and show us that from the others point of view we English speakers are the strange ones.

On Page 53 I found this wonderful joke. I don't know where it came from originally and it pops up in several places on the internet. I've reproduced it from memory, this is no a direct quote.

A mother mouse and her baby mouse were going for a stroll when they were suddenly attacked by a cat. The mother mouse shouted "BARK, BARK!" and the cat ran away scared. "See" says the mother, "how useful it is to learn foreign languages."

As an avid etymologist I was also fascinated by this fun fact: Chemistry is of course from Alchemy and that comes from Medieval French, and then from Arabic, which added the al meaning 'the' to a Greek word mean 'transmutation', and the latter comes ultimately from the Ancient Egyptian word for the fertile silt spread by the Nile when it floods annually.

It's all here in Wikipedia but I didn't know it before -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etymology_of_chemistry


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Raimondas Lapinskas, Monday, 28 Nov 2022, 19:41)
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