Friday, September 11, 2009

german

On Monday at Steiner's, I picked up a biography of Ján Stanislav, one of the greatest Slovak linguists of the 20th century. When I finally got to reading it earlier today, I stumbled across an anecdote from Stanislav's student years. It perfectly illustrates languagehat's observations on the influence of German learning on Russian intelectual history and shows that's it's not just the Russians who owe German scholars a great deal:

Keď raz študent povedal Milošovi Weingartovi, že nevie dobre po nemecky - dostal nemeckú knihu do referátu - profesor povedal: "Němčina jest najdůležitejší [sic] slovanský jazyk" a boli sme odzbrojení ...

When on one occasion, one of the students told Miloš Weingart that his German wasn't so good - he had just been assigned a book in German - the professor said: "German is the most important Slavic language" and there was no more excuse for us ...

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