Horse & BMAC
witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Mon Mar 20 12:53:12 UTC 2000
since you found it necessary to refer in English to my half-private message
to you, and nicely twist it, here is the text & translation of my remark:
>Mijn - heer Elst wrote some time ago:
>Seems I ought to join Herr Witzel's fan club.
>(Mijnheer Elst, dit soort stomme grapjes behooren toch niet in deze lijst.
>Ten minste niet van iemand, die denkt een serieuse onderzoeker te wezen.
>Ik noem U toch niet, met Uw norderlijke vrienden, een stomme Belg, of
(Mr. Elst, this kind of stupid jokes don't belong, indeed, on this list.
At least not by one who thinks himself to be a serious researcher. I do
*not* call you, indeed, together with your northern friends, a stupid
Belgian, or something like this...)
exacty the opposite of what Mijn-herr Elst makes of it in the post below.
And, though not part of Indology discussion (except for all those similar
North/South exchanges), the expression "een stomme Belg" is not a German
but a Dutch expression, as are the "Belgian jokes" that I was subjected to
during my 10 years or so in Holland. I have never heard one outside the
Netherlands; the concept of "stupid Belgians" is unknown there.
And thanks for the Adenauer quote. Was a funny man, with his concept of
three kinds of truth:
the common truth, the clear truth, and the *real* truth... Shouldn't we
introduce that in our discussions? T1, T2, T3?
>I have by now understood that you are something of a humorist, so I don't
>mind in the least if you call me "een stomme Belg"*. Only, a German should
>be careful with what he calls Belgians. Your great post-War Chancellor
>Konrad Adenauer (and I suspect that my Christian-Democratic father had him
>in mind when he picked a first name for me) described the Germans as
>"Belgians with megalomania".
>And now that we're at it: any bilingual Belgian could tell you that the
>correct French expression is not "comme l'habitude" but "comme d'habitude".
>All the same: sincere thanks for the information on the BMAC.
>* for those who don't understand the language of paradise: "stom" means
>something between "dumb" and "stupid", a common stereotype in the "Belgian
>jokes" narrated by our neighbours. Thus, on a train, three Dutchmen and a
>Belgian, one of the Dutchmen tells a Belgian joke. The two other Dutchmen
>laugh, but the Belgian doesn't. "Why aren't you laughing?" -- "I am Belgian
>myself." -- "Oh, then I'll tell it to you more slowly."
Department of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
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