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Forget The Alamo

As Phinky and PSotD have noted, we use a host of words in American English that have been borrowed from other languages.

Apparently Texans are now supposed to remember the Poplar, in Saint Anthony.

As Николай Васильевич Гоголь said at the end of his краткое содержание Нос: “Кто что ни говори, а подобные происшествия бывают на свете, — редко, но бывают.”

[Edit: everyone should read the short stories of Nicholas Gogol so they can wonder how a 19th century Russian writer could understand life under the Shrubbery. There are good translations on-line and you can start with The Nose. Come on, you didn’t really think that corruption, cronyism, and incompetence were new? They are part of every empire.]

3 comments

1 Steve Bates { 05.01.06 at 11:38 pm }

Apparently Texans are now supposed to remember the Poplar, in Saint Anthony.

ROTFL! Is “poplar” the same as “cottonwood,” which is the translation I was always taught as a child?

“[C]orruption, cronyism, and incompetence” are as human as politics and religion. We’ll never be rid of any of them.

An English text for “The Nose” turns out to be difficult to find on the web (the one that turns up repeatedly on Google now yields a 404), but Wikipedia has a good summary.

2 Bryan { 05.02.06 at 12:09 am }

Cottonwood is one form of poplar tree.

This is The Nose on Bibliomania.

Actually, one of the things Gogol was complaining about in the story was the acceptance by “polite society” of all sorts of absurd stories. This was the tendency that eventually led to Rasputin being brought to St. Petersburg. Miracle cures were the rule in Russia.

3 Steve Bates { 05.02.06 at 9:26 am }

Thanks, and thanks, Bryan. You’d think I could find those on my own, but not this time. I’ll try to keep it to one question per comment in the future. 🙂