Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2012 December 1

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December 1[edit]

Ludwig Renn a.k.a. "Poveda"[edit]

Hello Learned Ones ! What do you think Ludwig Renn (who spoke Russian & was fluent in Esperanto) had in mind when he chose his 3rd name in Spain (where he came in 1935 as a refugee from nazi Germany) : "Antonio Poveda" ? Thanks beorehand for your answers. T;y. Arapaima (talk) 08:02, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Povedu means "I (will) lead" in Russian. See http://translate.google.com/?hl=en&tab=wT#ru/en/повед and click on and drag down "poveda" for some suggestions. μηδείς (talk) 17:55, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Or there's победа (pobeda), which means "victory" in Russian. Since b and v indicate the same sound in Spanish, poveda would be an alternative though unusual way to transcribe the Russian word. Lesgles (talk) 21:50, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Subjectively, if I can look at it as a pseudo-native speaker, Poveda 'looks' a lot better than Pobeda, which, if Lesgles' guess is right, would explain the choice of spelling. Given Renn's politics and history, either seems reasonable. Regardless of the odd choice of consonants, the feminine ending makes me suspect Lesgles is right. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Renn doesn't address it in one of his books, but unless you are familiar with them searching for the reference would be exhausting. μηδείς (talk) 22:06, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Snippets from Ludwig Renn's book In the Spanish War seem to indicate that Antonio Poveda was a boy he knew. --Pp.paul.4 (talk) 22:35, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Shades of the talented Mr. Ripley? μηδείς (talk) 03:43, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
  • It could be also the aorist of Old Slavonic/Old Russian povědati "to tell" - pověda "I told".--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 05:57, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Thanks awfully to all, my cup overflows ! As for the spanish meaning "poplar plantation", I did not mention it, neither did you, & I agree : "Victory" for a soldier or "I told" for a best-seller writer seem to fit much better. T;y. Arapaima (talk) 07:17, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Can you give a link to some wikipedia or online source that gives the old slavic aorist, Ljuboslov? Proszu? Prosim? Pozhalujsta? μηδείς (talk) 02:21, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
I use Russian books, but for you I can advise "Old Church Slavonic Grammar" by Horace G. Lunt [1] (google for the full version). Note that in those times the differences between the Slavic "languages" were petty, mostly phonological, so this book can be used as the reference grammar of Old Russian (East Slavic) as well. As for dictionary use "Slovník jazyka staroslovenského" [2].--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 17:24, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

the vs. an[edit]

Hello. I haven't decide which one to use in this particular situation.

  • Ummagumma is an album by the English rock band Pink Floyd.
  • Ummagumma is an album by an English rock band Pink Floyd.
  • Ummagumma is an album by English rock band Pink Floyd.

Plant's Strider (talk) 09:55, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

I definitely wouldn't use the second option. I would go for the first one 194.176.105.154 (talk) 10:48, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Definitely the first one, although the third one would also be acceptable. --TammyMoet (talk) 10:51, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
For the difference between "the" and "an" see Article (grammar).--Shantavira|feed me 11:41, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
As I can suppose the name of the band is a restrictive attribute here, thus we use the definite article.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 14:35, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
You could only use "an" if you said "an English rock band named Pink Floyd" or something like that. That doesn't sound wrong to me, but the way it is above, sounds incorrect. --Jayron32 15:53, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
  • The first is the only acceptable one. The second implies there may be several English bands called Pink Floyd, of which this is one. The third is headlinese, and not appropriate for formal prose. μηδείς (talk) 17:48, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I'd question that. If I was reading an article in a rock magazine I'd expect to see it, if I didn't actually just see "by Pink Floyd". I suppose it might be appropriate in British English but not US English. --TammyMoet (talk) 18:41, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I suppose it would depend on context, but in most circumstances "by American rock band Van Halen" would be unexpected compared to "by the American rock band Van Halen". Unless ensign Chekov were making the claim. As for British usage prferences, you guys are an enigma wrapped in bubble and squeak. μηδείς (talk) 18:53, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
An enema with bubble and squeak would cause both linguistic utterances from the enemee. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 22:35, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Do we need to be enemees? What's a colonic between friends? --Jayron32 00:06, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
The Atlantic Ocean? That's quite some irrigation. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 00:11, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Another girl in my 11th grade Biochemistry class was asked during an oral exam to define edema, which she whispered was when they stuck a hose up your (whispered) ass. Luckfully for her it was only 18 moths til graduation. μηδείς (talk) 03:41, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
18 moths? I bet that bugged her. Clarityfiend (talk) 11:22, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

¶ My inclination in prose that isn't pressed for time or space would be to avoid front-loading the description of Pink Floyd, even at the cost of sounding a bit elementary or sing-song, since the advantage would be to sound less commercial or journalistic, as in something like

  • Ummagumma is an album by Pink Floyd, the English rock band; or
  • Ummagumma is an album of rock music by the English band Pink Floyd.

Encyclopaedic purists, for what it's worth, would like the precise, limiting definition to come first (there's only one Ummagumma and only one Pink Floyd); the rest is description or explanation. A comparison would be something like "Elizabeth I was Queen of England from 1558 to 1603." or "Hydrogen is the lightest chemical element." (Were Pink Floyd an obscure band of no lasting importance, "an English rock band" might fit as well or better in the first sentence, as in [hypothetically] "The largest lottery prize in the United Kingdom was won by Gwilym Jones, a Welsh bank clerk.") A possible counter-argument for the second version might be (depending on one's musical classifications) that the band is English, it's not a band that plays English rock.

On the other hand, I'd probably write "The Mystery of Edwin Drood is an unfinished novel by the English writer Charles Dickens (1812-1870)." because I'm sticking dates at the end of Dickens' name. In that case, similar to your own examples, I agree with the other responders in using "the" rather than "an" or nothing. —— Shakescene (talk) 12:57, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

The second option can be used with a comma inserted:
Ummagumma is an album by an English rock band, Pink Floyd.
This would be valid if the speaker assumes the reader has never heard of Pink Floyd. It is equivalent to
Ummagumma is an album by an English rock band called Pink Floyd.
Duoduoduo (talk) 18:25, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Agree with you there. I would use the second option only with the comma and only if I knew the reader didn't know about the existence of the band. —Mattmatt1987 (talk) 05:21, 7 December 2012 (UTC)