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Re: English word order and bumper stickers

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 15, 2004, 16:37
"Mark J. Reed" <markjreed@...> wrote:

>Saw a bumper sticker this morning that gave me pause:
>Now, this is not the appropriate forum to discuss my feelings on the >USA's recent theocratic tendencies, nor do I wish to do so. No, what >we have here is a striking example of the importance of word order in >English. Sure, we have subject becoming object and vice-versa, but >that's old hat; "dog bites man", etc. But in the same swell foop
>Of course, I assume that we have a simple mistake in intent, where the >author hasn't quite twigged onto the unidirectionality of mortal/deity >interaction verbs in English, i.e. gods do the blessing, while worshippers >are limited to praise/cursing, supplication, etc.
That's the most common usage for "bless", but not the only one. "Bless" can also be used as more or less a synonym of "praise", and in this sense is typically used with a human as the subject and God as object. Luke 2:28: "Then took he [Simeon] him [Jesus] up in his arms, and blessed God, and said: "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace......" Then there is the Litany of the Sacred Heart, which begins "Blessed be God"; the passive participle implies that "bless" is being used in the sense it's used in Luke 2:28 in most English translations. The author of the bumper sticker is therefore strongly suggesting that Americans should praise God, in a manner elliptical, but not ungrammatical. - Jim Henry