Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Goodbye Cat

from Mark Twain's comments about "The Awful German Language"

"A dog is "der Hund"; a woman is "die Frau"; a horse is "das Pferd"; now you put that dog in the genitive case, and is he the same dog he was before? No, sir; he is "des Hundes"; put him in the dative case and what is he? Why, he is "dem Hund." Now you snatch him into the accusative case and how is it with him? Why, he is "den Hunden." But suppose he happens to be twins and you have to pluralize him- what then? Why, they'll swat that twin dog around through the 4 cases until he'll think he's an entire international dog-show all in is own person. I don't like dogs, but I wouldn't treat a dog like that- I wouldn't even treat a borrowed dog that way. Well, it's just the same with a cat. They start her in at the nominative singular in good health and fair to look upon, and they sweat her through all the 4 cases and the 16 the's and when she limps out through the accusative plural you wouldn't recognize her for the same being. Yes, sir, once the German language gets hold of a cat, it's goodbye cat. That's about the amount of it."

Some selected quotes here.

6 comments:

km said...

Goodbye cat

Isn't it amazing that Mark Twain is funny even today?

Cheshire Cat said...

Yes, that's why I steer clear of the German language...

Alok said...

haha... me too. English is the best... but somehow i don't like many writers who write in english!

Szerelem said...

hahaha.......i know we have had this conversation before...but that is SO true!

jyothsnay said...

*Gleams*
my feet feet wobbled unexpectedly and they stared down at my face that is stretching across the window to follow the majestic marching or procession of words...
the set of links that u provided over here is sheer a thrill to senses! thank you, Alok.
But I love the musical therapeutic value of German language, thanks you my staunch obsession with FASSBINDER...
How much did progress on this German path? you were planning to learn na...

Alok said...

No progress yet. I got the CD and course books once but didn't get around to starting with it. Too busy reading German books in translation.