- skip - Brewer’s



The primeval language. Psammetichos, an Egyptian king, entrusted two new-born infants to a shepherd, with strict charge that they were never to hear any one utter a word. These children were afterwards brought before the king and uttered the word bekos (baked bread). The same experiment was tried by Frederick II. of Sweden, James IV. of Scotland, and one of the Mogul emperors of India.

James IV., in the 15th century, shut up two infant children in the Isle of Inchkeith, with a dumb attendant to wait on them.

The three primitive languages. The Persians say that Arabic, Persian, and Turkish are three primitive languages. The serpent that seduced Eve spoke Arabic, the most suasive language in the world; Adam and Eve spoke Persian, the most poetic of all languages; and the angel Gabriel spoke Turkish, the most menacing of all languages. (Chardin.)

language given to men to conceal their thoughts,” is by Montrond, but is generally fathered on Talleyrand.

Characteristics of European languages:

LʹItalien se parle aux dames.

Le Francais se parle aux hommes.

LʹAnglais se parle aux oiseaux

LʹAllemand se parle aux chevaux.

LʹEspagnol se parle à Dieux.

⁂ English, according to the French notion, is both singsong and sibilant.

Charles Quint used to say, “I speak German to my horses, Spanish to my God, French to my friends, and Italian to my mistresses.”

previous entry · index · next entry


Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

previous entry · index · next entry

Landière (French, 3 syl.)
Landscape (A)
Lane (The)
Lanfusa’s Son
Lang Syne (Scotch, long since)
Langbourn Ward (London)
Langstaff (Launcelot)
Langue dOc
Langue dOil
Languish (Lydia)
Lantern Jaws
Laocoon [La-ok-o-on]

Linking here:

Oldest Nation