Philip Coates Posted November 10, 2011 Share Posted November 10, 2011 Subject: Trivial Pursuit, Snipe Hunting, and the "Long-Winded Academic"(1.) I just read that piece on the differences in capitalization in French and English and they do say that geographical names are less likely to be capitalized in French, so perhaps Eco is correct and the Google entries use the -English- way of capitalization.Still not sure, because in my French reading / trips to Paris I seem to recall seeing the convention I described. Also, note that ND's above about.com entry has a further link to this, also in about.com's section on French capitalization--bottom of the page, click the link on 'variable capitalization': http://french.about.com/library/writing/bl-capitalization2.htm" Proper Nouns Proper names that refer to places are capitalized. J'habite en Champagne. I live in the Champagne region. Il a visité Pont l'Évêque et Roquefort en 2009. He visited Pont l'Évêque and Roquefort in 2009. " Note that it is Pont l'Eveque. Not pont l'Eveque! --- So, lets' put the shoe on the other foot: How's -your- integrity? Can you admit -you- might be wrong?(FYI: I read and speak French. "Pont" means "bridge").Objectively, I'd say I'm now in doubt after reading ND's about.com entry. The about.com entry has two different positions: on the main page and on the linked page. I suspect if the geographical name is famous or distinctive you often use the place name as if it were a proper name - e.g., Place Vendome, Bois de Boulogne - rather than as if it were a generic adjective of description. Whether Eco's location is that famous or a landmark, I have not the slightest idea.I did learn more about French capitalization in general, though. More than I'd ever want to know....(2.) Actually this issue of "more than I'd ever want to know" on a trivium is part of my wider complaint about what I've seen of Eco and why he seems very much as if he would likely fall into the 'Pretentious Academic' category for me:I just realized ND had once posted on my 'great literature' thread a much more detailed defense of Umberto Eco with long passages from Foucault's Pendulum. I had a more mixed reaction there: I liked 'Umbert 'Umbert's verbal pyrotechnics and cleverness and obscure patience-trying references while on the other hand being annoyed by his obsessive-compulsive clever-dick "overkill".In that extended discussion by ND, I suspected it was an optional mater of taste.A question of whether one is so impressed by the wordy academic cleverness and obsessiveness that he was able to put up with the annoying parts. In my case, it's more been there done that, so my guess is I wouldn't have patience to sit through Eco in order to find the juicy or clever 'nuggets'. I have too much else to read and seldom find even highly intelligent wordsmiths to be interesting if they tend to lack self-control or have a tendency toward obscurantism or highly academic jokes.It comes across as pompous and pretentious and irrelevant to me. Like learning "more than I'd ever want to know" in a super-specialized or too 'academic' (unreal, impractical, trivial area). Met too many of those types in college. And in college readings as well as some of my current 'great books discussion group' readings.(And Eco's initial stupidity in the interview above, unless it was just humor, was another strike against the guy for me and caused me to bail on the interview.) Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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