Re translators and traitors, someone has sent me an example of the complex nature of medieval tongues in Caxton’s Aesop. In the tale of the palmer and the wodewose–perhaps closer to Voltaire’s ingénu than to Tarzan–the palmer first blows on his hands to warm them up and then blows on hot water given him by the wild man to cool it down, whereupon Mr Monkeyman says:
by cause that thow berest bothe the fyre and the water in thy mouthe
therfore go hens fro my pyt and neuer retorne ageyne
And the moral:
And the man whiche is wyse ought to flee the felauship of flaterers
For by flateryng & adulacion many haue ben begyled and deceyued
The anonymous Spanish version of ca 1520 is longer and less well told but adds the detail–helpful for those of a naturally cautious disposition–that
However, Spain, despite the still-pitiful state of its conjunction industry, is entering the scientific age, as we read in Juan de Arce de Otárola’s Coloquios de Palatino y Pinciano, written some thirty years later:
PINCIANO Let me tell you then that there are animals without a tongue and others with half a tongue and others with one and others with two and others with three. Crocodiles have no tongue; frogs have half, because it’s backwards, attached at the front and free at the back; men have one, the best of all, because with it they speak all languages and imitate every animal, as the philosopher Archidamos said; sea foxes [raposas marinas] have two, as I have said; women have three, because they talk with their mouth and with their fingers and heart, and their tongues are rough and sharp, like those of cats and leopards.
Four legs good, two legs bad, or whatever. However, I still haven’t come across any criticism of bilingualism in the modern sense of speaking several languages, and colonial texts mention the benefits of those so-gifted.
- The best of all possible donkeys
Although Catalonia has donkeys rather as the Soviet Union used to have coalminers, the nation’s poets have tended to avoid the
- “How bilingual brains switch between tongues”
Brief visions of two tongues being fitted, enabling one’s bilingual brain to slot the correct one into place as and when.
- So why shouldn’t I wet my appetite?
I know it’s banned in English, but it seems perfectly natural to me, just as natural as wetting one’s whistle: if
- carod does it with donkeys
John Chappell‘s almost reached the 100 comment mark on his Mon 16th post. That’s nothing: I could get 1000 in a
- It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Superman: the prototype
It’s a balloon.