Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Grammar Duel

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I was delighted to find this little gem in the manuscript of Dr William King’s ‘Political and Literary Anecdotes in his Own Times’ (1818) (I’m even more delighted to be able to begin a blog entry with a sentence like that one, as it lends me an unwarranted air of erudition).

It seems pedantry has been in existence for a pleasingly long time, and I applaud the lengths gone to in order to prove a point here:
A trifling incident hath sometimes been the occasion of the greatest quarrels, and such as have ended fatally. I remember two gentlemen who were constant companions, disputing one evening at “Grecian” Coffee House concerning the accent of a Greek word. This dispute was carried to such a length, that the two friends thought proper to determine it with their swords. For this purpose they stepped out into Devereux Court, where one of them (whose name, if I remember, was Fitzgerald) was run thro’ the body, and died on the spot.
Summary justice for the use of poor grammar. Utopian.

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Blogger Dan said...

Kultur 1 v Cidre 0.

16 October 2007 at 14:57  
Blogger Gez said...

That's an extreme grammar dispute. It makes blogging about one's neuroses seem very passive-aggressive in comparison.

To the armoury!

16 October 2007 at 17:40  
Blogger Paddy said...

Given that the two gentlemen had been constant companions, I wonder if the surviving gent was content with his correctly accentuated Greek word as a substitute for companionship. I predict not, and further predict that he slipped into a heavy depression following the incident.

It's just a warning of the dangers of all this. Let it go no further than bloggery.

18 October 2007 at 12:53  

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