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Do any of the native-English-speaking Americans here feel impoverished because their families lost the ancestral German, Italian, or whatever?

(snip)
Do I feel impoverished... I don't spend a lot of time wishing the past was different than it was, but sometimes I do feel a sort of wistful longing, wondering what we have gotten ourselves into, and what we've lost without knowing.

I have the impression that you have kids, Donna, or at least one. Just out of curiosity what languages are you teaching them, living in furrin parts as you do?

SML
ess el five six zero at columbia dot edu
Although, getting back on topic, it is interesting that French did not supplant English, it merged with it. More or less.

And before it, Latin merged with the native languages of France, Spain, Portugal... I have no idea how you'd prove ... French have always been more open to mixing with other races and cultures than have the English or northern Europeans.

You sure couldn't support that claim by the actions of the French in the last century, what with their Academy and their ordenateurs (sp?) instead of computers and all.
Just as another personal example, my New England ancestors are solidly English, English, English all the way, as if the ... only slightly later, we know of a Scots-Irish, a German, and a Spanish ancestor who married into the Cajun families.

Are you sure your ancestors were Cajuns and not Creoles? The Cajuns lived in the swamps and marshes, and were rustics. The Creoles lived in the city and considered themselves superior to the Cajuns. In the mid 20th century, people were proud of Creole ancestry but Cajun ancestry was something to be ashamed of. (Later, of course, Cajun became chic.) If your ancestry has all those other nationalities, it seems likely that all those people got together in a city like New Orleans or Baton Rouge, not in some remote town like Thibodeaux.

By the way, you do know the story of how the Spanish became part of New Orleans Creole culture, don't you? In the late 18th century Louisiana belonged to Spain. The French colonists didn't much like the Spanish to whom their country had been sold. When the American Revolution started, Spain, like France, went to war with England. The young Spanish Governor of New Orleans, Bernardo de Galvez, after whom Galveston is named, led an expedition and reconquered West Florida from the English. The French colonists figured that anyone who beats up on the English can't be all bad, and thereafter they permitted the Spanish officers to visit their daughters, and the rest is history.
I've only heard a little about the effect Old Norse had on Old English when the Danes settled in England. "The Story of English" does describe how the contact between the two languages appeared to simplify some of English grammar.

Hasn't it been claimed that in fact English is a pidgin?

John Varela
(Trade "OLD" lamps for "NEW" for email.)
I apologize for munging the address but the spam is too much.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Chris Malcolm filted:

I recall a Greek PhD student all of whose university ... speaker, she simply didn't have the vocabulary to do it.

I have much the same problem describing what I do at work to anyone not in the same business...the entities ... not give me a reference (even unto confirming that I once worked there) if I should leave for another job..r

The last bit sounds like the British Secret Service, and signing the Official Secrets Act. Are you a spy by profession? (Use a one-time pad to encode the answer!)

wrmst rgrds
Robin Bignall
Quiet part of Hertfordshire
England
Is "History is a tale told by the victors" or ... a modern proverb? I don't find it at Bartleby's Quotations.

Alex Haley. From Encarta Book of Quotations : History is written by the winners. Interview, The David Frost ... haven't found it in the Oxford Book of Quotations or in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations Sixteenth Edition .

A just-in-case Google on "history" + "victors" instead of "winners" brings up this:
"The so-called lessons of history are for the most part the rationalizations of the victors. History is written by the survivors."
Max Lerner
I can find no date for that, but he was born 20 years before Haley, I see.
But whichever of the two actually said it first, I agree it's surprising if it is indeed so recent; it sounds like it ought to have been first said by Cicero or someone.

Ross Howard
Definitely rustic, for the most part, Thibodeaux being one of the very towns, the even smaller Lockport being the site of the ancestral Richoux farm. Sure, "swamp and marsh," though they would say "bayou," the Bayou LaFourche, which was a tame and tidy canal when I saw it. Most of the French ancestors that I've traced back that far were Acadian (Cajun) descent (that is, from the French colony in Maine & Canada), although as it happened, the original Richoux went directly from Orleans, France, to New Orleans.

I don't remember any details on how exactly those other nationalities settled and met the others, but my impression is that even though the rural community was French-speaking, it permitted and even welcomed other nationalities to farm there. That's not so strange in itself, pioneer towns in, say, Nebraska had mixtures of nationalities but there, ethnic divides lasted longer, I think; Bohemians tending to marry other Bohemians, not New England Yankees, and so on.

What you bring up is the attitude of the city people towards the country people, and the discrimination against the Cajuns. Class discrimination, which I'm sure played a role in the elimination of French in the early 20th c. as I said, it was considered the cause of poverty and backwardness. I wonder when it was the Creole class gave up its French fear of poverty could hardly have been their reason.

And, like I say, I don't want to over-romanticize this my father did escape poverty and acquired a good education (GI Bill) by going along with the game. Probably a lot of English people in the UK who deliberately shed their lower-class and regional accents, or made sure their children did, benefitted, too.
By the way, you do know the story of how the Spanish became part of New Orleans Creole culture, don't ... can't be all bad, and thereafter they permitted the Spanish officers to visit their daughters, and the rest is history.

My Spanish ancestors are the one I want to trace next. If what I found is true, they appear to have lived for generations on the Canary Islands. That's unusual.
I apologize for inflicting genealogical info on the group, as I know that it's usually only interesting to those most directly affected.

Best Donna Richoux
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Versions of the saying with "victors" rather than "winners" were circulating well before 1972. From Proquest:

In pursuit of the meaning of "Proquest" I've found that like online OED it's a database that I can get to with my public-library card.
But I didn't get the hits you quoted. Using the search string 'history "written by the" AND (victors OR winners)' and setting the date option to "before 12/31/2001", I get 23 hits, the oldest of which is from the Washington Post and is dated June 3, 1990. The found string in that hit is

But then, history, as they say, is written by the
victors.
I'm curious to know what search string you used to get your
1956 hit?

Maybe your Proquest and my public-library Proquest are not the same.
>
There is this
"History is the propaganda of the victors." - Ernst Toller, German poet and dramatist (1893-1939).
Said to have been said in 1935.
There is also a reported African proverb
Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters.
Richard Maurer To reply, remove half
Sunnyvale, California of a homonym of a synonym for also.
Versions of the saying with "victors" rather than "winners" were circulating well before 1972. From Proquest:

In pursuit of the meaning of "Proquest" I've found that like online OED it's a database ... search string you used to get your 1956 hit? Maybe your Proquest and my public-library Proquest are not the same.

You need to switch from the "ProQuest Newspapers" database to the Historical Databases. On the search page click on "Databases selected" to get to the database page. Then deselect "ProQuest Newspapers", scroll down to "Historical Databases", and select whatever titles are listed. The version of Proquest that I'm accessing has APS Online (periodicals from 1740-1900), Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall St Journal, and Washington Post archives. Also, you should use the Advanced Search screen to search the entire text of articles (Basic Search only does citations and abstracts).

While you're at it, you should also see if you have access to the (London) Times Digital Archive: . That's actually more user-friendly because when you click on a page image the search terms are highlighted (unlike Proquest, where you have to skim through till you find the terms you're looking for, unless you use OCR software to convert the PDF to text).
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Versions of the saying with "victors" rather than "winners" were circulating well before 1972. From Proquest: Mideast Debate New York ... p. BR3 To be sure, as all historians know, history is (at least for a time) "written by the victors."

I find several attributions now to Walter Benjamin, German philosopher and literary critic, 1892-1940 (he died while fleeing the Gestapo). No one has pointed to an exact line and source yet, but he appeared to talk about the idea a lot. Since he wrote in German, the variety of phrasing we see may be from differing translations.
Here's one bit of testimony:
http://www.coe.int/T/E/Com/Files/interviews/20030704 Interv Payot.asp

Question: Daniel Payot, you are Professor of the
Philosophy of Art at the Marc Bloch University in
Strasbourg, which has jointly organised the Council of Europe Summer University. You spoke on the theme "Is history always written by the victors?" Why did you choose that subject?
Daniel Payot: The idea came to me directly from a
German philosopher, Walter Benjamin, who wrote on
the subject in 1940, questioning the meaning of
history in particularly troubled times. He put
forward the very pessimistic idea, reflecting his
grave concern, that the way in which we perceive
history always reflects a reconstruction of history, and that there are inequalities between those who
make history. He believed that those who made
history were those who had an interest in relating it, and that they cast themselves in a favourable
light. These are the people Walter Benjamin
described as the victors. It's an interesting
opinion, but one that can be challenged. He refers, for example, to the Roman Empire. How do we now view what happened in Rome in the times of the Empire? Do we have access to all viewpoints? Take, for example, the Gallic Wars: we are familiar with them mainly
through Julius Caesar, whereas we don't know the
views of all the peoples Caesar mentions. Nowadays we have means of remedying the situation and it is not historically inevitable that we should have only the dominant viewpoint. We are now capable of
reconstructing the other side of the story and
giving a voice to those who were unable to make
themselves heard.
The 1940 work mentioned must be Geschichtsphilosophische Thesen (Theses on the Philosophy of History / 1939, published posthumously).

Best Donna Richoux
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