Monday, October 10, 2016
Lives of the Philosophers, Pt. 5
Roland Barthes had a seven-letter last name, but only the first four are pronounced. French has a lot of silent letters to make speaking harder. I suspect the French want you to 1) try to speak French and 2) do it badly so that they can correct you. Nobody likes being corrected, especially about the medium of expression rather than the idea being conveyed. So can’t we all just accept that “library” and “February” are spelled wrong? Anyway, Barthes’ three silent letters are a special mark of prestige and distinction for a respected thinker whose work I find absolutely opaque.