Tuesday, November 24, 2009

So who's lying? ( Titus 1 )

"All Cretans are liars," said the Cretan poet.

I don't know if Paul got the joke. If all Cretans are liars, how can you trust the Cretan who tells you that all Cretans are liars? Well, apparently Anaxamander (if memory serves me correctly) had a whole string of unpleasant things to say about his fellow countrymen:
Tit 1:12 Kendilerinden biri, öz peygamberlerinden biri şöyle demiştir: "Giritliler hep yalancıdır, azgın canavarlar, tembel oburlardır."
Let's look at a few words:
  • Giritliler -- People of Crete, Cretans. Girit (Crete) + li (partaking of, citizen of) + ler (plural) [1]
  • hep -- all
  • yalancıdır -- Liar(s). Yalan (lie) + cı (agent ending, like the -er in baker) + dır (are)
  • canavarlar -- beasts
  • tembel -- lazy
After this observation was published, I imagine that the poet heard the same message communicated to Tom Wolfe after he published his first novel, Look Homeward, Angel. The message that became the title of his next novel, You Can't Go Home Again.


[1] OK -- so li comes before ler. Even as it's idiomatically correct, in English, to talk about a "little old lady," but not an "old little lady." Size comes before time ... one of those "rules" that native speakers never even notice!

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