The four linguists

Four linguists were sharing a compartment on a train on their way to an international conference on sound symbolism.
One was English, one Spanish, one French and the fourth German. They got into a discussion on whose language was the most eloquent and euphonious.

The English linguist said: “Why, English is the most eloquent language. Take for instance the word “butterfly”. Butterfly, butterfly… doesn’t that word so beautifully express the way this delicate insect flies. It’s like flutter-by, flutter-by.”

“Oh, no!” said the Spanish linguist, “the word for “butterfly” in Spanish is “Maripose“.

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Now, this word expresses so beautifully the vibrant colours on the butterfly’s wings. What could be a more apt name for such a brilliant creature? Spanish is the most eloquent language!”

Papillon!” says the French linguist, “papillon! This word expresses the fragility of the butterfly’s wings and body. This is the most fitting name for such a delicate and ethereal insect. French is the most eloquent language!”

At this the German linguist stands up, and demands: “Und vot is rongk mit ‘SCHMETTERLING‘?”

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