Arab & the camel [was Re: Chomsky, Labov, Cassidy, Lakhoff,Dilliard, McDavid,Nixon in 1974.]

Thomas Paikeday t.paikeday at SYMPATICO.CA
Sat Jan 13 02:10:57 UTC 2001

Hi Douglas Wilson,

I have inserted my reactions below in square brackets. I hope you find
them satisfactory. Thanks for bothering to comment.

Tom Paikeday

"Douglas G. Wilson" wrote:
> >
> No doubt ... but some of us blue-collar types may be a little weak in
> Dravidian proverb morphology, and some of us have limited acquaintance with
> the Coromandel Coast area.

[Quite correct! Thanks]

 Are there a lot of camels over there? (^_^)

[None that I know of. Good question though. How did such a proverb get
into Malayalam? But then I am barely literate in my mother tongue,
having had only five years of elementary school].

> My question: Recently I said, "You know the story (I mean fable,
> Aesop's, if I remember right) of the Arab and the camel." It drew a
> blank from a Missourian spiritual director at a Jesuit retreat house (he
> is an MSW besides professional qualifications) and a few days later the
> same blank from a Chicagoan Carmelite prior. Of course something was
> bothering me.
> The question (anthropologists, folklorists, please help) is about the
> blank.
> The blank I think is self-explanatory. (^_^)

[I don't get this. Perhaps it doesn't matter. My own explanation is that
the MSW not being from Oregon (as in A DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN PROVERBS),
he cannot be blamed for making me explain the fable to him, but the
prior being from Illinois should probably have known better. But then no
one is omniscient even with the best linguistic library in the world.
Sorry if I seem to be preaching to a prior].
> Is this the one like "Don't let the camel stick his nose into the tent"?

[Yes indeed, as in op. cit.]

> Good advice for Arabs and non-Arabs alike, I suppose. Give a camel a rupee,
> and he'll take a crore!

[Thanks for some creative proverb-making. I enjoyed this exchange].
> -- Doug Wilson

More information about the Ads-l mailing list