User talk:Wegesrand

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Thanks[edit]

Thanks for your great copy edit work on Edna St. Vincent Millay. It was in need of a good overhaul! Best wishes. Span (talk) 19:08, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks yourself. Sorry about King Eadgar or Edgar ... I didn't take the time to work out whether he was better called King of Wessex or King of England. I guess the name should simply be linked to an article about him. —me

Thank you.[edit]

Thank you very much for pointing out that "Numismatic Cabinet" is a better term than "Coin Cabinet" in order to translate "Münzkabinet". This is a very valuable advice because only native speakers can detect this. (I hope that this was the only museum name within the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden that needed a fix.) I switched the term also in the related articles. If you have some time, could you check the actual article of Münzkabinett if there are some other improvements possible? Thanks again. --Linear77 (talk) 14:58, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

Harvest[edit]

I liked much of your clean-up of Neil Young's Harvest album. However, I am really not fond of your overuse of "the." The Canadian musician. The noted guests. The producer, Eliot Mazer. The session musicians. This is not the way I or people I know talk. It's not so wrong that I feel like going back and changing them, but I don't like the way it sounds.Bob Caldwell CSL (talk) 20:23, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the compliments. Sorry you didn't like the other corrections. I learned in school that an article is required with common nouns, but not with proper nouns. You cite cases of common noun phrases in apposition with proper nouns. The common noun gets an article, the proper noun doesn't. "Neil Young": proper noun; no article. "The Canadian musician": common noun, with article. "Neil Young the Canadian musician": apposition; proper noun phrase without article + common noun phrase with article. We say "the Wikipedia editor Bob Caldwell said ...", because "Wikipedia editor" is an apposite common noun phrase, not a title, but "Pope Francis said …" without "the", because Pope is a title, and hence forms part of the full name, that is, the proper noun. Even Prime Minister Harper must have an article if referred to as "the Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper", because "Canadian prime minister" is not a title and cannot become part of the proper noun: "Prime Minister" is his title. Only a title functions as an extension of the proper name, and anything else is a common noun phrase in apposition to the name, and hence requires an article. That's English grammar. I realize that low to middle-brow contemporary "journalism" has departed from this rule (highbrow rags like the Atlantic and the New Yorker haven't), but expressions like "Canadian musician Neil Young" without the article look §%@*# illiterate to me, and I'm not even very old. And I've never heard anyone talk that way, except television "journalists" barking the headlines from their teleprompters. End of rant, and thanks again :) Wegesrand (talk) 13:21, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

I admit to never learning that system (and I had 9 years of Catholic school grammar). If I said that "He used session musicians on the album," that would be okay, right? So when I add names, "He used session musicians Teddy Irwin and James Harris on the album," you think that the rule requres "the" before "session musicians?" If I modified this sentence, "'Across the Universe' featured vocals by two female fans," to name them, I could say, "'Across the Universe' featured vocals by two female fans, Judy and Julie." That would put the names in apposition and could be also said as "the female fans, Judy and Julie." However, using "the" here is normally reserved for a couple of fans that the reader should be familiar with, at least to my ears. If I didn't number them, I would say, "'Across the Universe' featured vocals by female fans Judy and Julie." That sounds really normal to me. I need to look this up somewhere to see how the "rules" of grammar would handle this. Thanks for your response.Bob Caldwell CSL (talk) 17:02, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

Plural common nouns work differently: read about the "zero article". Besides, don't be disingenuous: you're not adding names to "He used session musicians on the album". That's not what you wanted to say, obviously, because it's the normal case to use session musicians on an album. If you did start with that statement and add the names, you would get the sentence "He used session musicians, Teddy Irwin and James Harris, on the album." That's also a grammatical sentence but it's not what you wanted to say.
By the way, if you say "Across the Universe featured vocals by the female fans, Judy and Julie", you're implying that the Beatles only had two female fans: that is, the comma makes the apposition non-restrictive.
Wouldn't you know it: there's a WP page on our topic.—Wegesrand (talk) 17:47, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

That's an interesting read. Everyone else is in as much disagreement as you and I are. I agree with William Safire on this one; the article linked in the footnote is a good read. Though he notes that the NY Times avoids "false titles," and he follows their style sheet, he nevertheless think it adds unnecesarry emphasis (my thinking exactly) and sounds foreign to "native speakers" (I guess he means average people?). He even referred to this practice as "elitist." I am all for proper grammar. However, if it sounds funny to the average ear, perhaps it should not be used. Anyway, thanks for the discussion. I am not going to edit your changes but would encourage you to consider this discussion before making changes like that again.Bob Caldwell CSL (talk) 18:20, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

I usually disagree with Safire when he starts on language. I hated his column; I think he was in over his head from the start. Where there are borderline cases, there can and must be judgment; and I also exercise judgment as to how wide the borderline is. Glad to hear the NY Times is on my side; I suspected it but I wasn't sure. I am also glad about what I've learned in this little conversation. One problem with these "false titles" is that omitting the article spreads to other cases, and authors seem to forget how apposition works in English altogether. Here are a couple of examples I've collected, one over a year ago, one this month:
  • "This mechanical spider, named La Princesse, was made by French company La Machine."
  • "A Tibetan monk carries a portrait of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, during a function organised to mark 'Losar' or the Tibetan New Year in Kathmandu." (The Independent, 4/3/14)
The "false titles" page also cites Bryan Garner, who has doubtless been a boon to legal English but who seems in his daily usage notes for OUP to take descriptivism to the point of invertebratism. However, even Garner has a useful article on false titles, titled "Titular Tomfoolery", in his Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style. In a couple of examples, he recommends using the indefinite artice: "regular reader Thomas Gordon" becomes "Thomas Gordon, a regular reader". That sounds like something you could well use for your various female fans and session musicians, and is certainly something I will consider when making corrections like that in the future.
Also, I still don't believe people talk that way, except with affectation, that is, when they're "journalizing" or trying to speak "written" English. Would you really say to someone at a party, "Oh yes, another thing I really like about Harvest is that it's got session musician Teddy Irwin on a couple of tracks"? I think many people would avoid "the" here as begin inappropriate where it's not yet clear to speaker and listener what session musician is being mentioned, but "everyone I know" would put in another determiner in its place, like "that" or "a really great". I don't think you would ever pick up the "false title" construction on a hidden microphone.—Wegesrand (talk) 20:40, 20 March 2014 (UTC)