LINGUIST List 3.960

Fri 04 Dec 1992

Disc: Handel, Former

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. John Cowan, Messiah
  2. no chive, Re: 3.947 Articles
  3. Mark Seiden, Handel's "Messiah"
  4. MOLLY DIESING, Re: 3.947 Articles
  5. Ivan A Derzhanski, 3.947 the former Yugoslavia

Message 1: Messiah

Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1992 11:23:22 -Messiah
From: John Cowan <cowanuunet.UU.NET>
Subject: Messiah

Mark Mandel <markdragonsys.com> writes:

> Of course Handel titled it "*The* Messiah", or whatever in German
> ("Der Messias"?),

No, he didn't. Handel wrote the work after he had moved to England;
the lyrics are in English (the King James Version, in fact; the so-called
"librettist" merely selected them). I doubt whether Handel selected
the title, either.

> but English only allows one determiner to an
> NP. If "Handel's" is in, "The" is out, unless you pause to
> provide an intonational frame corresponding to the quotation
> marks and capital letters.

Right enough, but sometimes the article is an essential part of the meaning,
and a random noun must be interjected, thus:

 Keynes' book "The Economic Consequences of the Peace"

Omitting the "The" would falsely suggest a work describing merely >some<
of the consequences, whereas Keynes purported to wrap up >all< of them.

--
John Cowan cowansnark.thyrsus.com ...!uunet!cbmvax!snark!cowan
 e'osai ko sarji la lojban.
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Message 2: Re: 3.947 Articles

Date: 02 Dec 1992 15:51:34 -0400Re: 3.947 Articles
From: no chive <SDFNCRritvax.isc.rit.edu>
Subject: Re: 3.947 Articles

1. My point about "Messiah" is that even without "Handel's" before it
musicians, at least Handel specialists, don't use the article with it.
We're singing "Messiah" next year...

2. With regard to locutions like "The former Yugoslavia," virtually
*any* proper noun can be used with an article if it is modified -- e.g.,
"That's not the Mary I used to know."
Susan Fischer
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Message 3: Handel's "Messiah"

Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1992 21:50:34 -Handel's "Messiah"
From: Mark Seiden <misseiden.com>
Subject: Handel's "Messiah"

in linguist 3.947, Mark Mandel writes:

>Of course Handel titled it "*The* Messiah", or whatever in German
>("Der Messias"?), but English only allows one determiner to an
>NP....

Making no judgment on the linguistic argument, this is musicologically
wrong. The first performance of "Messiah" was in Dublin in 1741.
Handel had lived and made his career mostly in England since 1710.
Yes, he was German by birth, but according to my extensive records
the work was simply named "Messiah".

--
mark seiden, misseiden.com, 1-(415) 665 8117 (voice)
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Message 4: Re: 3.947 Articles

Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1992 11:21 EST Re: 3.947 Articles
From: MOLLY DIESING <MD5XVAX5.CIT.CORNELL.EDU>
Subject: Re: 3.947 Articles

The discussion of "Messiah" with regards to the use (or non-use) of
articles has me a bit confused. People seem to think that calling the
oratorio "Messiah" is a peculiarity of musicians. If it is, it is because
that is the title we see on all the scores, parts, recordings, etc. that
we see. In other words, Handel in fact called it simply "Messiah." And no,
the original title was NOT "Der Messias" or anything else in German. The
original title is in English, as is the libretto. So, "Handel's Messiah"
is no less odd than "Mozart's Requiem."

A similar confusion arises with Schubert's song cycle "Winterreise." People
seem to be unable to resist adding the definite article - "Die Winterreise" -
though in fact Schubert did not use the article in his original title.

- Molly

Molly Diesing md5xvax5.cit.cornell.edu
Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
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Message 5: 3.947 the former Yugoslavia

Date: Wed, 2 Dec 92 14:24:53 GMT3.947 the former Yugoslavia
From: Ivan A Derzhanski <iadcogsci.edinburgh.ac.uk>
Subject: 3.947 the former Yugoslavia

> Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1992 10:36:51 -0500 (EST)
> From: cowanuunet.UU.NET (John Cowan)
>
> "That's my first wife up there, and this is the >present< Mrs. Harris."
>
> I would have no difficulty in labeling the woman atop the bookcase as
> "the former Mrs. Harris".

It seems to me that the expression "the former Mrs Harris" is ambiguous.
It may refer to an entity existing in the present world (which was
Mrs Harris once but isn't any more) or an entity existing in a world
associated with a time before now (which is Mrs Harris in that world).

"The present Mrs Harris is a better housewife than the former Mrs Harris."
I can get two readings for this, involving the housekeeping skills of
the former Mrs Harris as demonstrated while she was married to Mr Harris
or as demonstrated now (and they may have gone up or down after the divorce).

> Likewise, we can have "the former Gold Coast" and "the former Yugoslavia".

By the first reading, "the former Yugoslavia" means the part of the
surface of the planet that used to be Yugoslavia once. Clearly it
can't have such a thing as territorial waters, because it is not a state.

By the second reading, "the former Yugoslavia" is a state, and "the
territorial waters of the former Yugoslavia" means the same thing as
"the former territorial waters of Yugoslavia". The waters are there,
only it is not clear why it should matter if someone enters them now.

I generally eschew such expressions as "the ex-USSR" or "the former
Yugoslavia". No one says "the ex-Byzantium" or "the former Assyria",
which would make just as much (or just as little) sense.

 `Haud yer wheesht! Come oot o the man an gie him peace.' (The Glasgow Gospel)
Ivan A Derzhanski (iadcogsci.ed.ac.uk; iadchaos.cs.brandeis.edu)
* Centre for Cognitive Science, 2 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9LW, UK
* Cowan House, Pollock Halls, 18 Holyrood Park Road, Edinburgh EH16 5BD, UK
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