October 12, 2011

The Day the Mouse Roared (and Other Sories)

Not Just the Daily Grind: Today’s Must Reads (or so)

  1. Yesterday the parliament of Slovakia voted against the expansion of the euro bailout fund, but EU Pins Hopes on Second Slovak Vote This Week. The government of Iveta Radicova has fallen but will continue in a caretaker role. It has pledged to get the measure through parliament in a second vote.  Alas, in vain the mouse roared...
  2. Danes firmly against euro - The latest Statistics Denmark euro barometer shows Danes firmly opposed to joining the Single Currency. Nothing new under the Danish Sun. They didn't want in before the financial crash, and a fortiori they don't want in right now. There is something right in Denmark.
  3. Italy Still Needs Silvio Berlusconi - Over at the National Review they think there's still hope for il Cavaliere. When the night is darkest the dawn is nearest...
  4. The Académie française: custodians of the French language - The Académie française was created in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu. Its aim was to "fix the French language, giving it rules, rendering it pure and comprehensible by all."

    Each French ministry has its own commission of terminology and neologisms, whose job is to track down English terms and offer French alternatives. They send their proposals to the Académie, which debates the new terms and rubber stamps them.
    Once published in the statues book, French civil servants are urged to use them. Its rulings, however, are only advisory; not binding on either the public or the government. About 300 such official French terms appear each year.
    However, not all catch on. The French term "prix hypotécaire à risqué" is not often heard in place of "subprime", for example.

  5. Saudi Women Receive Husbands' Explicit Permission To Celebrate Right To Vote -

    In the wake of the watershed decision granting them the right to vote in the 2015 elections, Saudi women have received their husbands' explicit consent to rejoice, sources reported Wednesday. "It is with great pride that women all across Saudi Arabia have been allowed to leave their homes under the guardianship of a male relative and celebrate this cultural landmark," father of four Khalid al-Kazaz told reporters. "It brings us great pleasure to permit them a few moments in which to smile beneath their hijabs before returning to their daily duties." Saudi officials followed the announcement with another historic decree that lowered from 10 to 7 the number of lashes that will be administered to women who drive themselves to the voting booth.

    No further comment needed, right?


  1. With regards to the French language. The French culture and language need no such defence, yet there is a sort of French phobia regarding any use of anglo-saxonisms, as though it represents a dire threat.

    When a foreign word is adopted in any language, there's always a pratical reason for it, and invariably the word is also transformed to suit the culture. 'Footing', and 'jouer au foot' are examples. Of course neither 'footing' nor to play 'foot' exist in the English language.
    A language evolves naturally across its history and can only become richer as a result.
    (Words used for rap music, etc., are temporary 'vogue code words' that have no precise meaning or much future. They can be constantly 'up-dated' according to the latest young trends, but it would be rare or doubtful that they would be officially adopted).
    It's interesting to note very old examples such as the flower 'dandelion' which derived from the French 'Dent de lion' that refers to the shape of the leave like that of a lion's teeth. The French no longer use 'Dent de Lion'. They since call the flower 'Pissenlit' referring, utterly devoid of complex, to its diuretic attributes (piss in bed).
    Being more prone to complex regarding such expurgatory matters, Anglo-Saxons would obviously prefer 'Dandelion' to 'Pissenlit'.

    Re. the latest Saudi Arabian 'cultural revolution', things are certainly changing for the better. Relative to history one could ascertain that they have evolved from the 12th century to be rapidly approaching 1240. There's no doubt that it's a move in the right direction.
    (Needless to add, the real Arabian cultural revolution will begin when petrol resources are exhausted, or when petrol is no longer in great demand). And this is only a question of time. It's inevitable.

  2. I agree with you in both cases, but generally speaking, even though, as you know, I love English, the unnecessary use of English terms when there are perfect Italian words as well bothers me. “Privacy,” for instance is good because there’s no Italian words which exactly conveys the idea here intended (“privatezza,” a neologism sometimes used by Italian “purists” is awful). What is worse, it has to be noted that those using unneeded English terms are very often people who don’t speak or understand English at all.

    As for the latest Saudi Arabian “cultural revolution,” despite the fact that, as you rightly say, things are certainly changing for the better, I can’t help smiling when I read news such as the above quoted….

  3. When I suggested that things were 'changing for the better, in Saudi Arabia it was of course 'tongue in cheek' irony, hence the progress of updating Sharia law from say the year 1200 to the year 1240..

    One wonders what laws the Prophet himself would have thought appropriate regarding the exploitation of petrol resources, or would he too have made this an exception to Sharia rule..?