Colonels (was: Old Norse)
|From:||John Cowan <jcowan@...>|
|Date:||Monday, June 26, 2000, 15:53|
BP Jonsson wrote:
> Even if they weren't so actually?
Yes. Historically, Anglo-Americans have distrusted standing armies as potential
instruments of tyranny. Even now, I believe, the British Army has to be annually
re-authorized by Parliament, and if they didn't do so one year, it would dissolve
into thin air.
Consequently, in time of war anyone with money was expected to apply for a
King's commission to raise his own regiment of soldiers, and would then be
automatically colonel of the regiment. As you can imagine, this did not make
for professionalism in the officer corps. The U.S. Civil War probably was
the last time armies were organized like that. Indeed, it was common on both
sides for citizen-soldiers to elect their officers.
Since the South lost the war, the presumption that any wealthy or socially
important person was, or had been, a colonel got frozen into social situations
even after it was obsolete militarily.
> Up to ca 1960 Swedes had to keep track on each other's occupational etc.
> titles (or their husbands') since their definite forms had to be used for
> addressing in conversation.
Also true in Brazilian Portuguese, to the extent that "o senhor" and "a senhora"
are taught to students long before any second person pronouns.
Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis um dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@...>
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