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Bernard M -- Taipei English Tutor

Bernard M - English Conversation / TOEFL / IELTS 一對一英文會話

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Philosophers vs. Housemaids

I see a lot of foreign housekeepers speaking Mandarin fluently in Taipei and I know the famous French philosopher René Descartes (勒內笛卡爾, 1596 - 1650) spent 20 years in Holland without learning Dutch, but I'm not so sure the following general rule holds.

FROM Physics and Politics by Walter Bagehot:
If you send a housemaid and a philosopher to a foreign country of which neither knows the language, the chances are that the housemaid will catch it before the philosopher. He has something else to do; he can live in his own thoughts. But unless she can imitate the utterances she is lost; she has no life till she can join in the chatter of the kitchen.

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