Re: s-stems in Slavic and Germanic

From: Andrew Jarrette
Message: 63101
Date: 2009-02-18

--- In, "tgpedersen" <tgpedersen@...> wrote:
> > > > Do you mean that Dutch people are not funny, at least not funny
> > > > in the way these girls are?
> > > >
> > >
> > > Humor is one way of dealing with conflict (actually it's just
> > > procrastinating from it)
> >
> > So when we are joking, we are not aware (or are aware?) that a
> > conflict or argument or fight of some kind lurks in our future?
> That's what I think. One day I got the idea that Monty Python's
> Ministry of Silly Walks (made in the 60's) was telling people the
> unpleasant truth that British power was on a downhill slide, all their
> ministries could do was inventing new ways of walking silly
> (translate: showing off, having an attitude, evading answers), not
> anything useful, which many people at that time still thought they
> could; some other day I got the idea that Faulty Towers was actually a
> tragedy: a man who spent his youth killing Germans by the hundreds
> with impunity now can't even kill a single one of them on his own
> property. And once I got those ideas I didn't find those episodes
> funny; I got the point, but I lost the joke. Actually I think John
> Cleese himself is the tragedy, he looks like the product of a long
> line of British military men, he would have made a great officer in
> the British Empire, but by the time he came around, it was gone.
> >
I'm amazed that you get all those British shows (all of which I've
watched and enjoyed, by the way) in Denmark. I sort of agree with
you: I think that humor is really tragedy from another point of view,
although if my point is not immediately clear I don't think I can
explain it without launching into a long treatise on human psychology.
And I can understand that humor can be used to avoid or mitigate
conflict, though one must be skilful in such cases.

> > , so culture clashes creates a lot of humor.
> > > Think Chris Rock or Dave Chapelle.
> > >
> >
> > In general not the kind of humor that I like, or find funny, quite
> > often (particularly Mr. Rock, who seems to have a one-track mind).
> > Just my opinion though. Millions of people love them.
> Actually I wasn't recommending or endorsing either of them, I
> mentioned them as an example of humor as a tool for lessening tension
> between groups. In USA black Americans and white Americans constitute
> separate ethnic groups by most anthropological definitions, they even
> speak separate languages.

Yes, but not _all_ black Americans speak a separate variety of the
language. Many speak the standard variety (if one can call it
"standard" - the most usual educated variant).

In Canada AFAIK there is no group of black
> Canadians, there are only people who happen to be black, same as Obama
> stands outside traditional groups in the USA

Yes, there aren't black people with a separate phonology, sentence
structure, and vocabulary as in the U.S. Although you do have
immigrants from black nations (African, Caribbean) who tend to form
small ethnic communities with accents etc., but their children usually
assimilate to mainstream Canadian culture (language, dress, behaviour
- although girls from Muslim countries only assimilate linguistically
and sometimes behaviorally, not in dress, while boys from Muslim
countries often don't assimilate) which is similar to the culture of
many regions of the U.S.

. As long as those groups
> persist in the USA, there will be people trying to deal with it by
> humor. The Germans have something called 'Narrenfreiheit', the freedom
> of the court jester, meaning he is permitted to say things to the king
> everybody else would get in trouble for (and that turns them into yes
> men, which is why the king needs a court jester to tell him unpleasant
> truths in the first place).\

I think Chris Rock is something similar to this.

> This is what the cartoon episode really meant here. People were
> becoming divided over whether those immigrants could take a joke, so
> someone decided to take it to the test. Apparently they couldn't. So
> if humor was the safety valve, it's now been clogged.

I don't understand what you're referring to with "the cartoon
episode", or who "those immigrants" are, or what "the test" was. Is
there something I've missed?