Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Excerpt for the Day

Shakespeare and Milton may have done their best to spread acquaintance with the English tongue among the less favoured inhabitants of Europe. Newton and Darwin may have rendered their language a necessity among educated and thoughtful foreigners. . (...) . But the man who has spread the knowledge of English from Cape St. Vincent to the Ural mountains is the Englishman who, unable or unwilling to learn a single word of any language but his own, travels purse in hand into every corner of the Continent. One may be shocked at his ignorance, annoyed at his stupidity, angry at his presumption. But the practical fact remains: he it is that is anglicizing Europe. For him the Swiss peasant tramps through the snow to attend the English class open in every village. For him the coachman and the guard, the chambermaid and the laundress pore over their English grammars and colloquial phrase-books. For him the foreign shopkeeper and merchant send their sons and daughters in their thousands to study in every English town. For him it is that every foreign hotel- and restaurant-keeper adds to his advertisement: "Only those with fair knowledge of English need apply." . (from Three Men on the Bummel, 1900, by Jerome K. Jerome) . Coincidental fact : In today's Arizona Republic, there was a article titled "Speaking 2 Languages could delay Alzheimer's". Subtitle : "Study: Monolingual patients had earlier signs".

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