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
LAA   Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:15 am GMT
It's still a funny quote though.
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
Sander   Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:53 pm GMT
Yes I am, why?
Fredrik from Norway   Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:03 pm GMT
Too bad the "Why do people look down on Spanish" thread was deleted before I could say that my fundamental view on Spanish hails from the days of el rey y emperador Carlos in this thread's title. Never having been to mainland Spain and growing up with extremely little Spanish influence around, my first impression of Spain and Spanish came through the history lessons about Spain's triumph after the Great Discovery's and their following indulgence in all kinds of aristocratic idleness and from the plays of the 18th Danish-Norwegian playwright Holberg and his contemporary Mozart's opera's. Both of them portray Spaniards as incredibly proud, religious aristocrats with neverending last names.

So forgive me for not associating Spanish with palms and beaches, but with whispering nobles in a gloomy concent.