June 25, 2007


From an article in today's NY Times:

"From maguro to otoro, the Japanese seem to have almost as many words for tuna and its edible parts as the French have names for cheese."

They could so easily have brought out the snow vocabulary, but they knew not to! Progress! But they still wanted to do that vocabulary = interest thing, so they pulled out a new comparison class. At least they didn't try to come up with an estimate of how many cheeses the French have names for.

Update: Apparently, such an estimate has already been made, by no less an authority than Charles de Gaulle. Mark and about twenty others write in to note that CdG said:

"How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?"


No need to make up random numbers. I foresee a contagious meme... "Just as the French have 246 names for cheese, the X have N words for Y." Those exotic Gauls, and their peculiar customs -- fetishizing roosters, closing down the whole country for two weeks every August, existentialism, tongue wrestling, gangs of accordion players -- it can't fail to catch on.

Posted by Heidi Harley at June 25, 2007 05:15 PM