Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hardcore Þornography

I enjoyed this article in the Guardian recently. Personally I thought it was way cool when I first discovered that German had a special letter for double S. Nobody had warned me about it (I hadn't done German in school) but all of a sudden, there it was, on signs and in newspapers. It didn't take rocket science to work out what it was replacing (I think Straße on street names was the giveaway) but it gave me (aged twelve, first time in continental Europe) a great feeling that this was somewhere foreign. More so than the cops with guns, or the driving on the right. So YAY for the Eszett.

I followed it up via Wikipedia, and thence to here. And before I knew it I was in one of those silly how-the-hell-did-I-get-here link-hopping sessions, following links to other weird letters like yogh (where I found out why Scots pronounce Menzies as "Mingies", Finzean as "Fingan" and Dalziel as "Di-ell"). Then onwards, via futhorc to thorn.

Thorn reminded me of the episode in Anthony Burgess's autobiography (strongly recommended) - probably in Little Wilson and Big God, though possibly in You've Had Your Time - where Burgess and a drunken student pal are careering round the medieval centre of Manchester, specifically the Shambles area (long before it was relocated, when it was still where I remember it). The drunken friend looks at an inn sign (presumably the Wellington) and starts shouting enthusiastically "That's a proper thorn there, man.... they've got a fucking actual thorn there..."., with a not-totally-sober-himself Burgess trying to hush him up before they attract undue attention from passers-by for being loudly drunk in the middle of the afternoon.

Anyway, hop, hop, hop, on to Thorn and Eth before alighting at this splendid article. And I'm sorry, I looked at its title line and I started giggling.

Hence my post title.


Do you ever have days like that?


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