Saturday, September 30, 2006

Cool Quotes #10: How to Read a Saga

If you've ever been annoyed by a friend who criticizes a book or a movie for not being realistic enough--if the words "Just be quiet and watch the movie" have ever dangled from your tongue--then know this is an age-old problem. The author of Göngu-Hrolf's Saga is right there with you.

Since this tale nor anything else can be made to please everyone, nobody need believe any more of it than he wants to believe. All the same the best and most profitable thing is to listen while a story is being told, to enjoy it and not be gloomy: for the fact is that as long as people are enjoying the entertainment they won't be thinking any evil thoughts. Nor is it a good thing when listeners find fault with a story just because it happens to be uninformative or clumsily told. Nothing so unimportant is ever done perfectly.

And the best line comes at the end:

I'd like to thank those who've listened and enjoyed the story, and since those who don't like it won't ever be satisfied, let them enjoy their own misery. AMEN.

Friday, September 29, 2006

German is Chic!

At least, "chic" is German, apparently. I've been periodically picking up the two volumes I have of Bastian Sick's Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod, a sort of German version of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves I suppose. Since I'm such a sucker for interesting or ironic etymologies, I loved reading about the word chic (that's French for 'chic'), which was borrowed into German with the spelling Schick.

But where did French get the word? From Latin? Nope. Says Sick: "The middle low German word schick stood for likeness, form, custom; schicklich had the meaning 'appropriate, becoming'." So the modern German Schick is a German-French-German loanword. And you thought the French had the monopoly on chic!