"Eumaeus", from Ulysses, p.508-509

" - A beautiful language. I mean for singing purposes. Why do you not write your poetry in that language? Bella Poetria! It is so melodious and full. Belladonna. Voglio. Stephen, who was trying his dead best to yawn if he could, suffering from lassitude generally, replied: - To fill the ear of a cow elephant. They were haggling over money... - Sounds are impostures, Stephen said after a pause of some little time, like names. Cicero. Podmore. Napoleon... Shakespeares were as common as Murphies. What's in a name?"(Joyce, 508-509 Gabler Edition). Bloom displays a typically 'folk' attitude towards language (see Preston 2002, "Language With an Attitude"), attributing qualities that inhere to the sounds and words of language itself - in this case viewing the sounds of the Italian language as "melodious and full". Stephen, who understands Italian, is able to take a more critical step back and question whether we can attribute meanings and qualities to the phonetic aspect of words and names, outside of the associations people come to build upon words such as the proper name 'Shakespeare'.

Posted by Alex Li on March 30, 2017

Perceptual Dialectology

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