Wednesday, August 05, 2015


Taciturn in Seven Ancient Languages

Obituary of Martin Litchfield West in The Times (July 24, 2015):
No great conversationalist, he was once described as "taciturn in seven ancient languages". Sometimes he would go silent as he paused for thought in the middle of a discussion, until his companion was forced to ask, "Are you going to reply Martin or is that it?" "I haven't decided yet," he would respond.
A similar phrase, "silent in seven languages," was applied to the classical philologist Immanuel Bekker (1785-1871).

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