The primeval language. Psammetichos, an Egyptian king, entrusted two new-born infants to a shepherd, with strict charge that they were never to hear any one utter a word. These children were afterwards brought before the king and uttered the word bekos (baked bread). The same experiment was tried by Frederick II. of Sweden, James IV. of Scotland, and one of the Mogul emperors of India.
James IV., in the 15th century, shut up two infant children in the Isle of Inchkeith, with a dumb attendant to wait on them.
English, according to the French notion, is both singsong and sibilant. Charles Quint used to say, “I speak German to my horses, Spanish to my God, French to my friends, and Italian to my mistresses.”
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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