Saturday, August 06, 2005

Languages and Religions
The Yiddish linguist Max Weinreich once famously said, "A shprakh iz a
dialekt mit an armey un a flot" (or "a language is a dialect with an
army and a navy"). I have always thought that a good complement would be "A religion is a superstition with an army and a navy" which is why it was interesting to see Weinrich's quote appear in this NYTimes article on Ethnologue a compendium of the world's languages that oddly enough began life as a guide for missionaries.

Since nothing in the English language is simple, there is some dispute over the quote's origins. It may have been coined by Joshua Fishman or Hubert Lyautey.


Blogger jules said...

this has nothing to do with your post but we are both sagitarius year of the dragon, my birthday is 24 november, yours?

11:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home