Odious and Peculiar
Philology and esoterica: scribblings, ravings and mutterings.
O&P's Current Pick:
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Do you wonder what English sounds like to foreigners (non-Anglophone foreigners, that is)? Well, some Italian professor did his best to show you, in the form of a rock video (definitely a product of its time). The experiment seems pretty successful; indeed, if I heard it as background music, I'm not sure I'd notice anything amiss (though rock lyrics can often be a little opaque to me). It's a similar sensation that overcomes me when I listen to Swedish singing, or to Dutch, as though if I just listen a bit harder I'll be able to understand.
On the same subject, I've always been intrigued by the following passage from Patrick O'Brian (The Nutmeg of Consolation, Ch. 1):
Stephen said, "The Captain does not understand Malay, so you will forgive me if I speak to him in English."Given O'Brian's general erudition, I expect that he had some precedent for this passage. I'd love to learn what it might be. Though I can imagine how English might sound rather delicate and flitty to an ear accustomed to tonal, nasal speech.
HT: Rod Dreher.
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