At what point does a comfortable silence turn into an awkward pause?
And what does that mean for us?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
"We tend to regard other people's languages as we regard their cultures – with ill-hidden disdain. In Japanese, the word for foreigner means 'stinking of foreign hair'. To the Czechs a Hungarian is a 'pimple'. Germans call cockroaches 'Frenchman', while the French call lice 'Spaniards'. We in the English-speaking world take French leave, but Italians and Norwegians talk about departing like an Englishman, and Germans talk of running like a Dutchman. Italians call syphilis 'the French disease', while both French and Italians call con games 'American swindle'. Belgian taxi drivers call a poor tipper 'un Anglais'. To be bored to death in French is 'être de Birmingham', literally 'to be from Birmingham' (which is actually about right).
Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson
Posted by Liz at 7:28 am