This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

You what? a rant

Here's Catherine Morland talking to Henry Tilney. Yes, that's right, from Northanger Abbey.

They're flirting, as usual.

“I do not understand you.”

“Then we are on very unequal terms, for I understand you perfectly well.”

“Me? Yes; I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.”

“Bravo! An excellent satire on modern language.”

That was written by Jane Austen over two hundred years ago. The trouble is, it's still an excellent satire on modern language.

This recording, below, comes by way of Norman Geras and the excellent normblog.

In it John Searle talks about the French philosophers Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, and how, if you want to be a French philosopher, bad language is an absolute necessity.

If it weren't so funny, I think I might weep.
Word To Use Today: philosophy. Suddenly this word is beginning to sound like an excellent satire all by itself. It comes from the French filosofie, from the Greek philosophos, lover of wisdom.


  1. Just seen this, Ace! Will tweet a link tomorrow!

    1. Thanks, Adele. Jane Austen and normblog: how could this post be anything but a winner?