Dalrymple’s linguistic shame

Maugham made the same mistake

Dalrymple confesses to what he calls

a serious omission,

something which

causes me much embarrassment.

He explains that although he was more than three years in the Gilbert Islands,

I never learnt more of the language than simple questions after health.

He offers these excuses, none of which satisfy him:

  • he was never sure how long he would stay
  • it was a language spoken by only 60,000
  • it was a language with no written literature
  • the nurses and doctors with whom he had to deal all spoke English
  • his social life was almost entirely among the expatriate community

Dalrymple concludes regretfully:

It was laziness combined with an attitude of cultural superiority I should certainly have condemned in others.

The British Resident’s flag

 

Advertisements
Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: