Thursday, January 21, 2010

Essay: "Confessions of a Gallomaniac." Frank Moore Colby

One-minute review: When the French attempt to speak English, they cannot master the idioms or avoid the malaprops and if they try to speak it, the result is a collection of sentences that make very little sense. They insist on using the literal dictionary definition of words. The same is true of Americans who try to speak French. Give it up.


“Her method of instruction, if it was one, was that of jealous, relentless, unbridled soliloquy.”

A conversation in English between a Frenchman and an American: “It calls to walk.” “It is good morning…better than I had extended.” “I was at you yesterday ze morning, but I deed not find.” “I was obliged to leap early…and I was busy standing up straight—all around the forenoon.” You get the idea.

“French people hate broken French worse than most of us hate broken English.”

“A word is not a definite thing susceptible of dictionary explanation. It is a cluster of associations….”

Great Essays. Ed. Houston Peterson. New York: Washington Square Press, Inc. 1960.

What is an essay? “They are all prefaces. A preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they [essays] do nothing else.” Charles Lamb.

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