Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

She-who-must-be-obeyed (was: English Subjunctive)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Sunday, November 2, 2003, 20:10
On Saturday, November 1, 2003, at 11:07 PM, Muke Tever wrote:

> On Sat, 1 Nov 2003 17:37:30 -0500, Andrew Patterson
> relative clause, I could say, >> >> "I[subject 1]am going to visit she[subject 2] who must be obeyed. >> >> Somehow, >> >> "I'm going to visit her who must be obeyed," sounds wrong, so relative >> clauses (or at least the one above has two subjects but no object. > > Actually, "I'm going to visit her, who must be obeyed" sounds perfectly > normal to me--
..and to me also.
> any weirdness inheres in the existence of the stock phrase > "she who must be obeyed" (which on its own is actually somewhat of an odd > construction in everyday English) which competes with it.
Yep. In fact what has happened is that "she-who-must-be-obeyed" has become an invariable stock phrase; so when meaning 'the wife', 'the boss' or whatever, it is treated as a single unchanging noun, hence "I [subject] am going to visit she-who-must-be-obeyed [object]". One occasionally hears things: "I've given it to she-who-must-be-obeyed", "I'll have to ask she-who-must-be-obeyed" etc. I'm minded of something similar in the Greek New Testament. In ancient Greek prepositions may govern the accusative, genitive or dative cases; they _never_ govern the nominative. But in Revelation (Chap.1, verse 4), there's an example of one apparently governing the nominative: kharis hymin kai eire:ne: apo ho o:n kai ho e:n kai ho erkhomenos. Grace to-you and peace from the [NOM.] being and the was and the coming (Actually, the ancient Greek article + participle was often used where we would use a relative clause in English; so, e.g. 'ho o:n' is better translated as 'the one who is'/ 'he who is'.) But what has happened is quite simply that the divine name given in the Septuagint version of Exodus 3, 14 has been treated as an indeclinable phrase: ego: eimi ho O:n I am the One-who-is. (or: I am He who is) [KJV "I AM THAT I AM"] and: ho O:n apestalke me pros hymas the One-who-is has-sent me to you [KJV "I AM hath sent me unto you"] It's as though the writer of Revelation wrote in English: "Grace to you and peace from I AM ........" Except that the writer of Revelation has expanded the divine name with (a) definite article + 3rd. sing of past tense [sic] of "to be" ('the was' !) and (b) the definite article and preset participle of verb "to come" ( 'the one who is coming/ he who is coming'). A most striking sentence. I suppose the closest we could get in English would be: "Grace to you and peace from He who is and He was and He who is coming." Needless to say, the KJV does no such thing. It has strictly grammatical "..from him which is, and which was, and which is to come".(Note the old use of 'which' referring to people). Even in the Vulgate, Jerome could not countenance anything like "ab Qui est", and has the perfectly grammatical:"...ab eo, qui est, et qui erat, et qui venturus est." A more literal translation of the last word in the Greek would give: Latin: ....qui venit English: ....who is coming It's interesting to note another example of the clear influence of the Vulgate on the KJV :) Ray =============================================== (home) (work) ===============================================