FOOD AND OTHER MATTERS. THE EVERYDAY LIFE OF CENTRAL EUROPE IN EARLY MODERN LANGUAGE AIDS (Jedzenie oraz inne sprawy. Codziennosc Europy Srodkowej we wczesnonowozytnych rozmówkach do nauki jezyków obcych)
Since Antiquity the acquisition of communicative skills in foreign languages has been aided by the use of bilingual or multilingual phrasebooks with exemplary dialogues. Phrasebooks were also commonly used in the early modern era. The author surveys the best known publications of this type, including Erasmus's Familiarum colloqiarum formulae and the works of his imitators and continuators. The authors of well-known Latin, French, German, Dutch and Czech phrasebooks were, among others, Petrus Apherdianus, Ondrej Klatovski, Marthurin Cordier (the 16th c.) and Philippe Garnier (the 17th c.). Against this background the author analyses German-Polish phrasebooks from the 16th -18th c. Their compilers (including Nicolaus Volckmar, Jeremias Rotter, Matthias Gutthäter-Dobracki, Johan Ernesti, Jan Moneta) lived in Silesia and Royal or Ducal Prussia. Also the users usually came for the borderland areas where both Polish and German were in common use. Phrasebooks, both those published in Western Europe and those issued in Gdansk (Danzig) or Wroclaw (Breslau), usually covered a certain conventional list of topics. Those included food and table manners, health and hygiene, travelling and trade (especially in the area of food, clothing and textiles). Much space is devoted to presenting everyday life and school situations. Larger phrasebooks include dialogues concerning farming or crafts, and finally some existential topics, such as birth, death, religion, war and peace. The picture captured by phrasebooks, usually rooted in the realities of the author's country or town, provides material for comparing the situation in various parts of Europe. Among the above-mentioned topics the author focuses on the data on food, concluding that Polish-German phrasebooks provide the fullest description of the eating habits and table manners of the affluent inhabitants of large cities (Gdansk, Wroclaw). Secondly, they contain many interesting details about the culinary preferences of the gentry, poorer burghers and rich peasants. Regional cuisine, however, is very poorly represented.
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