Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Polite applause: update

Just a quickie.  After last week's ripple of applause after the first of my lectures to the 1A classicists, after the first of my lectures to the 1A philosophers, some of them banged the desks instead.  (I think this was meant to be a sign of appreciation.)  I hadn't come across this much before.  Is it a disciplinary thing?  (Philosophers bang; Classicists clap?)  A quick google suggests that table-banging is a parliamentary thing.  Or a Germanic thing.  Any other suggestions?


Anonymous said...

"Yes, you are right. The origin is unclear. One theory says that students had to knock on the table to show appreciation because they only had one hand free. The other hand was used to hold a quill.
The other theory is hard to explain. Basically it says that in the 18. century most students were using walking sticks (fashion back then). If they were unhappy with the lecture given by a professor they used the sticks to knock on the ground to show their disapproval. Over time the sticks became outdated but the knocking remained. But now it is only used to show aprreciation."

Anonymous said...

We here in Germany all knock on the table with our knuckles to signalize thanks for the lesson. Should the students feel that the lecturer could wind up the lesson a bit faster, you can expidite its end by vigerous banging whilst he is drawing breath.