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Re: German favourite words (was Re: Language Difficulty)

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Tuesday, October 2, 2001, 23:40
Quoting Vasiliy Chernov <bc_@...>:

> Speaking of German words... It seems I mostly associate German with > treatises in Linguistics/Philology, especially in Classics. They tend > to be exhaustively thorough and compact. I don't know how, but German > scholars can make a volume of 200 pages to read like 500.
So I'm told, this is all Kant's fault. Every since his _Critique of Pure Reason_ came out, everything in the Social Sciences has always been written at the extreme expense of comprehension. (I myself find even his _Prolegomena_, which is a digest of the _Critique_, to be terribly dry.) My linguistics professor (who's fluent in German) told me that he once went to a colloquium in Germany to give a paper about some issue in German philology. Now, Dr. King is the kind of guy that hates pretension, so he likes to make his speeches as straightforward and approachable by everyone as possible. After finishing, he got a few claps and polite smiles, but it was clear that his work was not appreciated very much, and was told later that they had wished he could have toned it up, so to speak. The next year, he consciously made it as difficult to comprehend as possible, using the most obscure terminology and archaic phrasing, even asking his associates at home if he they could understand anything so that he could make it completely unintelligible. When it was presented, he was greeted with roaring applause, and has been thought of as something of a demigod ever since. Thus, Dr. King has very set opinions about the pretensiousness of German academics. ============================== Thomas Wier <trwier@...> "If a man demands justice, not merely as an abstract concept, but in setting up the life of a society, and if he holds, further, that within that society (however defined) all men have equal rights, then the odds are that his views, sooner rather than later, are going to set something or someone on fire." Peter Green, in _From Alexander to Actium_, on Spartan king Cleomenes III