Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Subtle Insult to the Reader:

I've found an interesting subtlety in English. Compare these two sentences:
I like the song that begins "Du bist die blume" (in German).
I like the song (in German) that begins: "Du bist die blume".

I would not blame a reader who took offence at the first sentence. "Of course it's in German, anyone can see that!" But the second sentence is not similarly insulting, because I say "in German" before I've given the reader some German words to recognize.

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