Irish recruits [Was: French Academy ...]

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Jun 21 14:37:22 UTC 2008

At 6/21/2008 12:17 AM, Dennis Baron wrote:
>... But at the start
>of World War I, French army officials were shocked to discover that
>many of their new recruits still could not understand the language of
>command (as Monty Python might have asked, how do you say, "Run away,"
>in French?).

There is what might be called today an Irish joke:  John Dunton,
describing his service in the militia while residing in Massachusetts
in 1696, wrote that he was "as unacquainted with the Terms of
Military Discipline, as a wild Irish Man", who would be given bread
for one pocket and cheese for the other, and then be commanded to
turn toward bread or cheese instead of left or right.

John Dunton, The Life and Errors of John Dunton Late Citizen of
London ... (London: Printed for S. Malthus, 1705), 155--156.


The American Dialect Society -

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