Sounds like Greek to me

Ronald Kephart rkephart at
Fri Dec 12 17:57:16 UTC 2008

On 12/12/08 12:05 PM, "Ann Anderson Evans" <annevans123 at> wrote:

> In Israel the Arabic I heard on the streets was not attractive to my ear, to
> say the least, rough and guttural. Then one night I heard Arabic poetry being
> read on the radio.  Talk about rich!

How do we operationalize value judgements like ³rough, guttural, rich?²
These kinds of statements are totally subjective, and have no linguistic
(i.e., scientific) merit whatsoever. I suspect, though, that maybe what was
happening here was that the poetic reading style was probably very different
from the typical on the street interaction. I suspect that we might make the
same contrasting judgements about street vs. poetic English. Think for
example about taxi drivers arguing over a parking space, versus someone
reading from Whitman.

By the way, when I was in high school, I thought Spanish was the gods¹ gift
to humankind. Beautiful! So much so, that I majored in it as an undergrad.
Then, in grad school, I took Aymara and began learning about how the Spanish
had oppressed, exploited, and otherwise abused the Aymara and other
indigenous peoples in the Andes and elsewhere. Somehow, Spanish didn¹t sound
so beautiful anymore...


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