Mark Twain loved it and wrote the introduction to the first English edition.
It is presumed that Carolino wrote the book through the aid of a Portuguese-to-French dictionary and a French-to-English dictionary, using the former for an initial translation of a word or phrase from Portuguese, and the latter to convert it from French into English. The result, of course, is a mishmash of cloudy gibberish.
For instance, the second chapter is titled “Familiar Phrases,” and features sentences intended to help the weary Portuguese traveler in everyday conversation. These phrases include classics like “He has spit in my coat”; “take that boy and whip him to much”; and the oft-used “these apricots and these peaches make me and to come water in mouth.”
Then there is the problem of the rampaging constitutional comma. There is a current English ablative absolute respectable enough to have been adopted as the name of a program on NPR: the phrase all things considered. Under no circumstance would you say “all things comma considered” any more than you would say “all things comma bright and beautiful”. But note that the infallible Founders have “A well regulated Militia comma being…” Did they lose confidence in the absolutism of their ablative or did they, as I suspect, throw in a comma every now and then just for the hell of it? What other explanation can you offer for the third and final, comma, in, the, second, amendment? The subject of the principal clause of the second amendment is the right to bear arms. Its predicate is “shall not be infringed”. Why, o tell me why, is there a comma between them?
The reader for whom you write is just as intelligent as you are but does not possess your store of knowledge, he is not to be offended by a recital in technical language of things known to him (e.g. telling him the position of the heart and lungs and backbone) He is not a student preparing for an examination & he does not want to be encumbered with technical terms, his sense of literary form & his sense of humor is probably greater than yours. Shakespeare, Milton, Plato, Dickens, Meridith, T.H. Huxley, Darwin wrote for him. None of them are known to have talked of putting in “popular stuff” & “treating him to pretty bits” or alluded to matters as being “too complicated to discuss here.” If they were, they didn’t discuss them there and that was the end of it.
one of the papers mentioned from the Royal Society
Comparative phylogenetic analyses uncover the ancient roots of Indo-European folktales
Sara Graça da Silva1 and Jamshid J. Tehrani2
1 Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Institute for the Study of Literature and Tradition, New University of Lisbon, Avenida de Berna, 26-C, Lisboa 1069-061, Portugal 2Department of Anthropology and Centre for the Coevolution of Biology and Culture, Durham University, Durham DH1 1LE, UK
Ancient population expansions and dispersals often leave enduring signatures in the cultural traditions of their descendants, as well as in their genes and languages. The international folktale record has long been regarded as a rich context in which to explore these legacies. To date, investigations in this area have been complicated by a lack of historical data and the impact of more recent waves of diffusion. In this study, we introduce new methods for tackling these problems by applying comparative phylogenetic methods and autologistic modelling to analyse the relationships between folktales, population histories and geographical distances in Indo-European-speaking societies. We find strong correlations between the distributions of a number of folktales and phylogenetic, but not spatial, associations among populations that are consistent with vertical processes of cultural inheritance. Moreover, we show that these oral traditions probably originated long before the emergence of the literary record, and find evidence that one tale (‘The Smith and the Devil’) can be traced back to the Bronze Age. On a broader level, the kinds of stories told in ancestral societies can provide important insights into their culture, furnishing new perspectives on linguistic, genetic and archaeological reconstructions of human prehistory.