Emperor Charles V on languages

LAA   Sat Jul 15, 2006 4:30 am GMT
"I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse."

- Charles V
Brennus   Sat Jul 15, 2006 5:43 am GMT
It's an oft-quoted saying in books about language. Of course, Spanish was at its prime in the 16th century when Charles V said this.
LAA   Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:15 am GMT
It's still a funny quote though.
Brennus   Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:57 am GMT
Re: "It's still a funny quote though. "

Yes, and I'm sure he was being somewhat *facetious when he said that. Note that he does not mention English probably because England was still not thought much of in Europe at that time. It was generally considered a nuissance which occasionally came across the channel to fight with the French over Normandy.

* (i.e. "playfully humorous, jocular" per Dictionary.Com. )
Guest   Sat Jul 15, 2006 8:31 am GMT
His first tongue was Dutch ... as he was born and raised in Ghent
LAA   Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:33 pm GMT
His mother tounge was actually French.
LAA   Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:45 am GMT
For the most part, if I was that multi-lingual, I would probably do the same.

Spanish sounds appropriate for things holy. Italian is also very romantic. (La bella luna!) French is not harsh, but it is also less musical, and therefore appropriate for addressing men. And German is very harsh, and masculine, which would be appropriate for commanding your horse in the field of battle.

These are all my opinions, and should only be taken for just that, one guy's opinion.
Aldvs   Sun Jul 16, 2006 2:08 am GMT
Today he probably would say..."and English to my Japanese dealer." :-)
Fredrik from Norway   Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:28 pm GMT
Of course, we cannot know for sure, but I think Keizer Karel was not so much thinking of how these languages sound when he uttered this statement, but rather what people in those days thought was typical of the nations which spoke them:
Spaniards - very religious - Reconquista and Inquisition
Italians - pioneers of arts and literature (Renaissance) - the kind of subjects an educated gentlemen would flirtingly converse upon with a lady
French - the general language of the nobility and courtiers, the "men" that Karl V came into contact with
Germans - had already at that time a reputation of being robust peasants. Plus Luther was just starting to make a German literary standard language, although it would not be untill ca. 1800 that a standard oral German emerged. So perhaps only the horse would understand the German dialect Karl was speakibg. (Or was he hear reffering to Dutch?)
LAA   Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:43 pm GMT
Yes, Frederick, that was exactly what I was trying to say. We seem to think a lot of the same things, only I have trouble conveying my thoughts the way you do sometimes.

Stick around for my next thread. It's a message to Frederick and Fab.
Guest   Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:16 pm GMT
if you watch "the wings of desire" (Wim Wenders) you would notice that german can be beautifull and poetic.
LAA   Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:49 pm GMT
I'm sorry, but as soon as a I hear that "ahhghhg", gutteral sound, I no longer find it beautiful. I don't hate the German language, and there are certain aspects of it that I really like.
Sander   Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:38 pm GMT
Personal tast I guesse, but then again ... Goete sounds rather different than the movie "Where Eagles Dare".
LAA   Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:40 pm GMT
Sander, aren't you a native Dutch speaker?
Sander   Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:52 pm GMT
guesse = guess