Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Is French such a rubbish language?

In arguing for the arbitrariness of words, the concepts they signify and the connection between the two, Jonathan Culler claims that:

The English concepts of a “wicked” man and of a “pet” have no real counterparts in French. (Culler, Jonathan, Ferdinand de Saussure (New York, Penguin, 1976) p13)

Is that really so?

No doubt Culler would just tell me how much it shows that I'm shaped by my language and culture but it seems to me that "wicked" and "pet" are pretty basic ideas. Are the Frenchies really that different from us that they have no morally depraved individuals and no domesticated animals they treat as members of the family?

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