Saturday, December 02, 2006

art, arts, arted, arting

Meta-blog news: Over the weekend, I was inducted into the Language Log cabal. I now know the secret handshake, and the retinal scanner at the secure building at Language Log Plaza now recognizes my left eye. I'm not sure how things work over there yet, but I'm going to be finding out. If you have any questions for the CEOs, I could... well, probaby if you just write to them yourself it'll be faster. Anyway, the point is, some of my Heideas posts will now show up as LL posts too, though I'll probably also post some of the more linguisticy technical thingies for the more select Heideas audience. But this post will be the first to appear in both places -- apologies for duplication in any of your feeds!

Here's another example of the 'X is a verb' snowtrope that I saw on a display panel at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art a week or two ago:



They mean to convey something like, 'Art is an activity we, the curators, and you, the museum goers, and they, the artists, all actively engage in,' as in the other uses of the 'X is a verb' formula discussed on the Language Log. Just another misguided linguistic metaphor. However, it reminded me of something else about 'art' as a verb that I'd been thinking of posting about.

When I was a kid in Newfoundland, we said the Lord's Prayer every morning at school. (It was a secular public school, but derived from the Protestant half of a historically denominationally organized school system; old habits die hard.) I knew 'art' was a verb—"Our father, who art in heaven"—but I understood it as some verbal counterpart of the noun 'art', as in skill, work, magic, the opposite of the 'dark arts'—you know, arcane, mysterious art. 'To art' in this sense would mean something like, 'to work (magic)'. So I thought we were intended to be addressing "Our Father, who works (magic) in heaven..." It wasn't until much later that it occurred to me that this was in fact just an arcane, mysterious form of the verb 'to be'.

But recalling my childhood confusion as I stood in the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, another puzzle about this use of art occurred to me. It is true that art is a former member of the present tense conjugation of the English copula to be, but it's the wrong one! The relevant entry in the OED, for art, says this:

"2nd sing. pres. ind. of BE. One of the remaining parts of the orig. substantive vb.; cf. AM."


That is, as a form of BE, art is unambiguously second person singular. Consequently, its use in "Our father, who art in heaven" is mighty peculiar. Relative pronouns like who or which inherit the person of the NP they modify, and the modified NP, "our father", is third person. Consequently, the verb should be a third-person (singular) form, that is is. (The logic of my childhood misparse was similarly flawed; my verb should have been 'arts' rather than 'art', unless I imagined it was irregular, of course, which I guess I must have).

So then I started wondering where the art came from.1 In fact, in the New Testament Greek 'original' version, there is no copula present; the line in Greek went like this (interlinear gloss taken from the relevant page at the Center for Indo-European Language and Culture at the University of Texas Austin):

Pater hêmôn ho en tois ouranois;
O-father of-us he in the heavens
'Our Father which art in heaven,'

In the 'Standard Latin' translation of this, the second-person form of the copula es, first appears:

Pater noster, qui es in caelis

because, I suppose, the head of the relative clause is vocative, the case form used to address someone (this is kind of interesting in itself! I didn't know that the vocative could do this within a relative clause).

The first Old English translations were made from the Latin translation, rather than from the Greek, and an actual second person pronoun appears (line and gloss taken from Cathy Ball's Old English web pages at the University of Georgetown):

Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum
Father our thou that art in heaven

And of course, here the use of the second person form here makes all kinds of sense, since the head being modfied by the relative clause is itself second person.

What's interesting is that the art form of the verb persisted in official English versions of the prayer long after the 'thou' had been dropped and regular rules of English agreement would have predicted a switch to the third-person form is. (NB: English does not have a vocative case form.) You can track the persistence of art at Cathy Ball's online collection of English forms of the prayer, here. Almost no modern English translation of the prayer from the Greek includes any copula at all; for a complete description of the process employed in the creation one modern English translation and side-by-side comparisons of ten different translations, check out this pdf.

With the loss of the thou, the art became an anachronism. its persistence illustrating an interesting point about ritual speech.

Ritual speech is one place where archaic words linger on, long after they have fallen out of common use and indeed over time often become unintelligible to youger generations uttering them (a situation which is conducive to misparses and eggcorns like mine). In ritual speech it's important to get the form of words exactly 'right'—words that are just a paraphrase of the meaning won't do. By the time the thou was dropped from the official version, the use of 'art' must have been completely formulaic, retained because it was the 'right' form to use in this prayer, like the predicate-first subjunctive in the next line, 'Hallowed be thy name'.

The 'thou', although present neither in the Anglican or Catholic official versions, isn't completely gone. There are still 12,900 Google hits out there for "Thou art in heaven" vs. 252,000 for "who art in heaven" and 94,500 for "which art in heaven". A search for "who is in heaven" turns up 247,000 hits, but only two of the first 10 hits have anything directly to do with the prayer, so I assume most of those aren't relevant. "Our Father, who is in heaven" has a measly 21,600. A lot of the modern translations just use 'in heaven', no copula or relative clause at all, and "Our Father in heaven" weighs in at 284,000 hits.

Cautionary Postscript: This discussion is not about the Lord's Prayer itself, but rather about subject-verb agreement in free relative clauses, problems of translation, formulaic speech and the genesis of misparses. The prayer is just an extremely well-documented source of data about these issues.

1Caveat: I am not trained in any classical language, or in Old English; the information that follows is what I can deduce by looking at some paradigms and making a few educated guesses.

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And why should Google be a good corpora?
Are are people just uploading or cut-and-pasting "art in heaven" or actually typing it in.

And is Newfie just a funny bit put on by Codco or do people really talk that way after centuries of British rule and the BBC?

1:39 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Interesting. I had always assumed this was just an extension of the "people who are" agreement, that is, that "art" was used because "who" was being used relatively for "thou".

2:51 AM  
Blogger John Cowan said...

A couple of miscellaneous points:

The reason there's a copula in the Latin but not in the Greek is that in Greek as in English it's grammatical to say things like "Our father in the heavens", with the PP attached directly to the noun, but Latin will not tolerate this: it allows PPs only in verb-modifying positions, and therefore demands a relative clause and a copula (no PP-attachment ambiguities in Latin!)

The "which art"/"who art" split reflects the fact that the Authorized Version wasn't a fresh translation, though it did involve a fresh look at the source material. "Which art" was already archaic in 1611, but was kept in the name of fidelity to tradition. The nearly contemporary Douay/Reims version, being Catholic, had no such constraints, and used "who art". Both contain "art", however, a good indication that the second-person relative clause form was grammatical English at the time, or two independent sets of translators would be unlikely to both choose it.

Finally, it's interesting to compare the text of 2 Esdras, one of the Apocryphal books. We do not have the original Greek, only various old translations, of which the Latin is the basis for the A.V. Verse 3:1 begins "Ego Salathiel qui et Esdras", which is translated "I, Salathiel, who am also Ezra". So here too, in the first person, we see the notion that it's the antecedent of a relative clause that determines the person of the verb in the clause. Indeed, my reasonably modern Sprachgefuehl feels better about the above form than about the alternative "I, Salathiel, who is also Ezra", which just feels weird.

Thanks for the article, which I read on Language Log, and for the opportunity to comment publicly.

4:45 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

And another twist: I know people who use "art" as a verb meaning 'to do art'--I art, you arted, let's art, etc. They're all 21 or 22, but they've been using it for at least two years. I've never been able to get used to it.

5:47 AM  
Anonymous Loxias said...

In the Greek version, the correct gloss for ho is 'the.MASC.NOM', not 'he'.

The whole constituent 'ho en tois ouranois' is an elliptical noun phrase functioning as a modifier; it is not a reduced relative clause proper. In that case it would be introduced by the appropriate relative pronoun hos ('who') and would probably need a copula (but then, my Koine intuitions are non-native...)

:-)

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Marcos said...

I think the fact that we say "you who are" indicates that the relative pronoun who is not, in and of itself, third-person, but rather agrees with its antecedent or appositive.

Since "Our Father" is a vocative expression, therefore, the second person form makes a certain amount of sense.

But, as Heidi noted when I made this point via email, it doesn't jibe with other similar expressions in modern English. For example, I might say "My friend, who is like a brother to me" even when addressing said friend, rather than *"My friend, who are like a brother to me".

This phenomenon is not restricted to English. In Spanish, I've also seen all three variants: with no relative pronoun (Padre nuestro en los cielos), with 2p verb (Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos), and with 3p verb (Padre nuestro que está en los cielos). And the form analogous to "who art" (que estás) seems most popular.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, but "my friend are" is wrong, unlike "you are", so "my friend who are" doesn't follow the way "you who are" does.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spanish allows for something sometimes called "unagreement", where the subject is (apparently) an ordinary DP, but the verb agrees with it as though it's 1st or 2nd person:

Hemos venido los profesores.
have-1PL come the professors
'We, the professors, have come'

Jaeggli has a 1986 NLLT paper that discusses this. You can form relative clauses on these, which have properties like the ones Heidi was interested in in the first place:

los profesores [que estamos trabajando
the professors who are-1PL working

en el edificio]
in the building

'we, the professors who are working in the building'

Interestingly, such relativization can't cross a clause boundary (Esther Torrego, p.c.):

*los profesores [que nadia cree
the professors who nobody thinks

[que estamos trabajando en el edificio]]
that are-1PL working in the building

'We, the professors who nobody thinks are working in the building'

I think there's something similar going on in English, to the extent that I can get relative clauses to modify pronouns (cf. also John Cowan's and Marcos's examples above):

I, who am the best candidate...
*I, who nobody thinks am the best candidate...

*I, who is the best candidate...
I, who nobody thinks is the best candidate...

(I have a paper about the local/long-distance contrast on my website, if anybody's interested; it's called "Person-Case effects in Tagalog")

Maybe one way of saying what's special about the Lord's Prayer case that Heidi started off with is that it involves something like Spanish 'unagreement', which English doesn't normally let us do.

--Norvin Richards

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Minor slip in the OE gloss: heofonum is of course dative plural, so the OE follows the Greek and Latin in reading "in the heavens", not the modern English "in Heaven".

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Latin, at any rate, the rule is that the relative pronoun agrees in person as well as number and gender with its antecedent. Guildersleeve & Lodge section 614 quotes Cicero for a first-person example:

Ego qui te _confirmo_, ipse me non possum
"I who reassure you, cannot reassure myself"

Same in Classical Greek (Smith, Greek Grammar,2501b)

It's interesting that
* I who reassures you

is unacceptable (at least to me). I think "I who reassure you" seems a bit odd itself because having a relative clause with a personal pronoun antecedent is already pretty high-style-formal in English.

The Lord's Prayer thing reminds me of a controversy (in England, anyway) over the replacement of the traditional "which" in "Our father which art in heaven" by "who" in the newer Anglican version.

I recall a letter to the Spectator (rightish UK weekly literary and political magazine) by the President of the Prayer Book Society, an organization whose remit seems to be to preserve the purity of Anglicandoctrine by safeguarding the language of the Prayer Book (as opposed to the Alternative Service Book etc).

This chap defended the traditional "which" as signifying the fact that God the Father was not personal , as Christ is.

There seemed a certain irony in the President of the Prayer Book Society being misled into an undoubtedly heretical statement by his failure himself to understand sixteenth-seventeenth century English (in which "which" is freely used with human and personal reference, as practically any page of his, no doubt beloved, King James Version shows)


David Eddyshaw

1:26 PM  
Blogger Aven said...

I'm not sure I'm clear on the main point you're making -- are you saying that modern English has no vocative form, and that therefore "Our Father" must be 3rd person? Because it seems very clear to me that in the Lord's Prayer "Our Father" is vocative, since the rest of the sentence explicitly uses the 2nd person: "hallowed be thy name". I don't see why dropping "thou" changes the form of "our father" -- it's still an address. I'm really not in any way an expert on modern English grammar, so I'd genuinely like to know what the official opinion is on that. (I realise English doesn't have a separate form for the vocative, but surely that's not the issue -- in the Latin you quote, for instance, "pater noster" is the vocative, but it's the same form as the nominative).

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Follow-up to my comment on Latin & Greek:
Smith's Greek Grammar (admirably accurate old-style decriptive grammar of classical Greek) says

"The person of the verb in a relative clause, in which the relative pronoun is the subject, is regularly determined by the person of the antecedent pronoun expressed or implied"

and gives examples from texts.

This is a better formulation than saying (as I did) the relative pronoun "agrees" in person, given that there's no morphological
agreement involved.

Interestingly Smith goes on to say that vocatives are, rarely, followed by third person!

There are at least two questions here: one relating to person agreement in relative clauses with personal pronoun antecedents, and another about whether vocatives are second person.

The answer to the first question is at least clearcut in Latin and classical Greek. I wonder to what extent similar constructions in English are imitated from Latin (or French)? Other Germanic languages as far as I know don't use interrogative pronoun forms as relatives - nor did Old English. There must be lots in the literature about this.

The second question is difficult given that no European language actually marks ordinary nouns for person. In fact the only language I know of that does is Classical Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs and their neighbours. In Nahuatl all nouns are compulsorily marked for the person of the referent, using the same prefixes as mark verb subjects. Thus
"I will be a lord" is
niyez niteuctli
I-will.be I-lord
"You will be a lord" is
tiyez titeuctli
You-will.be you-lord
and so forth.
Oddly enough, the _only_ context in which "lord" can appear without the prefix ti- and still apply to "you" is in fact as a vocative:
teuctle! Lord!

Just thought I'd muddy the waters a bit,

David Eddyshaw

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always took the "Our Father" as being illustrative of how unusual such address is in English: one doesn't generally address people both by title/name and by a modifier *"John, in that chair...", though something like "You there, in that chair...", with a pronoun instead of a title, is okay.

However, recasting it in the 'normal' way of saying it, "Our Father--you, who are in Heaven--hallowed, etc." hardly seems the proper tone, so ritualized language it is.

4:00 PM  
Blogger hh said...

Hi all -thanks much for the extremely interesting feedback! Loxias, and anonymous3 -- thanks for the points about the glosses -- I haven't changed them on the orignal post because I announced where I got them from and people can blame those guys, not me, for the mistakes. Re the m.sg.nom 'ho' determiner -- I wonder if the guys at the I-E site glossed it as 'he' to get the 'm.sg.nom' part across only, choosing to not pay attention to the determiner part, or if the m.sg.nom (weak) pronoun is homophonous with the determiner? In any case, the nominative quality of that determiner (and also apparently the quality of the last vowel of 'pater', though you can't tell from this transliteration) distinguish the Greek NP as distinctly NOT vocative, so it's interesting the Latin turns up that way.

Re: Aven's question, which is an excellent one: The question is whether English has NPs that are formally vocative, although not overtly marking it so. Assuming that vocative would entail a second person agreement on the verb of a modifying relative clause, I can report at least that *my* English doesn't have a vocative, since (as Marcos reports) I find an NP like the follwing, even used in addressing sb, distinctly ungrammatical :

(1) *My friend, who are like a brother to me, come home safely!

If I were going to use the construction at all, I would say,

(2) My friend, you who are like a brother to me, come home safely!

I find I don't like the following either:

(3) *My friend, who is like a brother to me, come home safely!

The mandatory appearance of the second person pronoun in the only one I like, and in a lot of the other Germanic translations I linked to in the original post, makes me wonder if perhaps the 'vocative' case is really indicating agreement with a null second person pronoun in apposition to the case-marked NP in pro-drop Latin (and presumably other lgs. with vocatives).

and that's really interesting about the blocking of person agreement across clauses in these constructions, Norvin! Cool, cool, cool.

4:02 PM  
Blogger hh said...

Hi all -- I post below an email from Simon Cauchi who sends some more interesting examples showing pronounless vocatives triggering 2nd person verbal agreement in the Book of Common Prayer, and also, interestingly, Keats! Looks like it was quite a common structure. I do wonder, though, whether they might not be based on Latin forms. But very interesting! have a look --

*******Simon Cauchi writes:******

Many thanks for the lively and interesting post about the verb-form "art", but please allow me to address one misapprehension. You wrote:
----
Consequently, its use in "Our Father, who art in heaven" is mighty peculiar. Relative pronouns like who or which are third-person pronouns, and the modified NP, our father, is also third person.
---
No, dear me, no. The relative pronouns who or which are first or second or third person, depending on their antecedent. Thus

I, who am . . . We, who are . . .
Thou, who art . . . You, who are . . .
He/She, who is . . . They, who are . . .

In Our Father, who art . . . , the antecedent is indeed vocative. It's vocative in "function", to borrow the CGEL's terminology. If we were to replace "Our Father" with a pronoun, that pronoun would be "Thou", not "He". So the second-person verb form "art" is not in the least peculiar.

Many other examples of this construction (where a vocative singular NP triggers second person agreement within a relative clause modifying it) may be found in the Collects of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer:

"Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning"; "O Lord Jesu Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee"; "Almighty and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth"; "O God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers"; etc., etc.

And here's another well-known example of the same construction :

Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: . . .
(Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn)

PS I make the same disclaimer as Heidi Harley did. My topic is merely grammar. The texts chosen are just convenient examples.

Simon Cauchi

*******************

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting single data point : i learned latin from a nun in high school and she always said "qui esT in caelis".

5:11 PM  
Blogger Spectre-7 said...

Quote: In any case, the nominative quality of that determiner (and also apparently the quality of the last vowel of 'pater', though you can't tell from this transliteration) distinguish the Greek NP as distinctly NOT vocative, so it's interesting the Latin turns up that way.

Actually, from every text I've checked online, 'pater' is distinctly in the vocative case. The following seems to be a consensus version:

Πάτερ ἡμῶν, ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς·

Were 'pater' in the nominative case, it would be spelled with an η (eta) instead of an ε (epsilon). The other cases all show more differentiation than these two.

I should note that I'm only a hobbyist student of Greek, so take this with a grain of salt. My textbook seems to be in agreement, though.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Loxias said...

Two more points:

'pater' (with an epsilon) in the Lord's Prayer is indeed in vocative. The 'ho en tois ouranois' bit is a tougher nut: morphologically it is clearly nominative, but then in Koine it is very common to use noun phrases in morphological nominative with a vocative use.

I wonder if the guys at the I-E site glossed it as 'he' to get the 'm.sg.nom' part across only, choosing to not pay attention to the determiner part, or if the m.sg.nom (weak) pronoun is homophonous with the determiner?

Probably the first one. There are no weak pronouns in nominative in (Koine) Greek. The last time ho was a pronominal was in Homeric Greek, so maybe, those I-E guys got slightly carried away.

The Nahuatl examples, where it seems that it is a copular suffix that marks person on the predicative noun 'lord', is reminiscent of Turkish.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous willmo said...

I'm confused, although I may be missing something. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of CGEL and I won't be able to get to one in the immediate future. :-(

Anyway, the LL post says that "Relative pronouns like who or which inherit the person of the NP they modify". But it seems to me like this is not true at least some of the time:

*He always complains about his job to me, who barely even know what it is he does.
He always complains about his job to me, who barely even knows what it is he does.

Here we have a first-person antecedent and the relative pronoun has subject function in the relative clause, but it seems to me that a third-person verb is required.

1:04 AM  
Blogger language said...

it seems very clear to me that in the Lord's Prayer "Our Father" is vocative, since the rest of the sentence explicitly uses the 2nd person: "hallowed be thy name". I don't see why dropping "thou" changes the form of "our father" -- it's still an address.

I agree with this, and the expression has never seemed odd to me. Old Church Slavic (to take another example I'm familiar with) also uses 2 sg: "izhe esi na nebesekh."

7:08 AM  
Blogger hh said...

Willmo -- what a great example! I completely agree with the judgment. So it seems that only nominative personal pronouns can affect the conjugation of the tensed verb in subject relative clauses that are formed on them, not accusative pronouns... that is really interesting.

Hat -- it certainly does seem clear that in some lgs the vocative does count as second person all by itself... it's just not clear to me that in (Modern) English a vocatively-used NP does, or at least, it seems to me without an overt second person pronoun, nothing seems right. The intrusion of the pronoun in at least some of the other Germanic translations with the 2nd person copula seems to me to suggest that this is true for the other Germanic languages... and makes me suspect that there's a connection to pro-drop. Is Old Church Slavonic prodrop? I expect so, maybe?

that's very interesting about the nominative in Koine being able to be used to modfy vocative. hmmmm!

8:48 AM  
Blogger hh said...

Here's another pair of comments that arrived by email, just for your interest, from David Fried:

**** first comment***
I'm not a Greek scholar either, but I take the Greek of the phrase "Our Father which art in Heaven" to be slightly peculiar in the way so much New Testament Greek is, i.e., it reflects a Hebrew/Aramaic original, either because the Greek Gospel is an actual translation or (more likely) because the writer was mentally translating from Hebrew/Aramaic, especially when setting down Jesus's actual words. "Pater hemon ho en tois ouranois" is a translation of the Hebrew prayer formula "avinu shebashamaim," literally "father-our that-in-heaven." Even the choice of "ouranois" [dat. pl.] rather than "ourano" [dat. sing.] reflects the Hebrew original. Hebrew, of course, has no copula. Biblical and post-Biblical Hebrew are almost devoid of adjectives [Israeli Hebrew abounds in them], and there is no way I can think of to make an adjective out of "shamaim"--heaven. "Avinu shebashamaim" means, in ordinary English, "Our heavenly Father," not "Our-Father-that-or-who-or which-is [or art] in Heaven." I don't have a Greek lexicon here [or anywhere], but I imagine that the adjectival form of "ouranos" [Heaven] is "ouranios." The Gospel writer would have saved us all a lot of trouble if he had begun, as he should: "Pater ouranios. . ., " but he would have had trouble getting the "our" in there.

Incidentally, you refer to the vocative, but I can't tell from your transliteration whether "Father" in the Greek is in the vocative (epsilon-short "e") or the nominative (eta-long "e") case. I don't quite see how you can follow vocative "pater" with "ho", the nominative article/demonstrative, but hey, I'm a lawyer. . .

*****second comment****

A few more thoughts. Eighty to ninety percent of the King James Bible is drawn directly from William Tyndale's translation of 1525-26 (which is why the traditional comment that "the KJV is the only product of a committee to sing" is not really true.) Tyndale worked from the original Hebrew and Greek, not from the Latin Vulgate (which for him would have been contaminated as the Catholic version.) He must have known the Vulgate well, however, and I'm sure it influenced him. In any event, Tyndale rendered the first line of the Lord's Prayer as "O oure father which arte in heve halowed be thy name." I believe that the "art" originates with him, and he supplied it notwithstanding the absence of a copula in the Greek. Note the vocative "O," which disappears from the KJV.

My original point was just to say that we owe the "art" to a chain of translationese that begins with the original Greek, since Matthew must have learned the Lord's Prayer in Hebrew or Aramaic (the Aramaic construction would be just the same as the Hebrew: "Avana dibishmaya" I believe.).

8:53 AM  
Blogger hh said...

...And check out this post at Jabal al-Lughat, about vocative 1st persons:

The grammar of talking to yourself

9:03 AM  
Anonymous willmo said...

Willmo -- what a great example! I completely agree with the judgment. So it seems that only nominative personal pronouns can affect the conjugation of the tensed verb in subject relative clauses that are formed on them, not accusative pronouns... that is really interesting.

I'm actually having a hard time constructing an analogous second-person example that's useful here. The antecedent has to be unambiguously accusative singular and I think there shouldn't be any predicatives involved.

If you just make my example from before second-person, the results seem inconclusive, perhaps because you can be either singular or plural:

First-person antecedent:
*He always complains about his job to me, who barely even know what it is he does.
He always complains about his job to me, who barely even knows what it is he does.

Second-person antecedent:
I always complain about my job to you, who barely even know what it is I do.
I always complain about my job to you, who barely even knows what it is I do.

(Original example reproduced to eliminate the need for scrolling.)

I managed to make it to a copy of the CGEL, and I don't think it really addresses the me, who knows situation. On p. 500 it says that "The default pattern in relative clauses is that the subject takes its person-number properties from its antecedent." Then on p. 507 it discusses third-person verbs in relative clauses where the antecedent is me, but only for the case of cleft relatives, which my examples above definitely are not, and without explaining the situation very thoroughly. And finally on p. 511 there's discussion of person in predicatives, but that's not what we have here either (the only predicative is in the what it is I do part, but I'm pretty sure that's irrelevant to the situation).

One (possibly) plausible explanation for me, who knows would be that, when they tack on the relative clause, the speaker is simply conceiving of themself in the third person. However, there doesn't seem to be any way to make the sentence semantically any more first-person, if that makes any sense.

Phew! This syntax stuff is hard. ;-)

12:45 PM  
Blogger John Cowan said...

It occurs to me that the Lutherbibel version, "Vater unser der du bist im Himmel", has the explicit 2nd-person pronoun, like the Old English, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese Bibles; but all the other Germanic languages lack explicit 2nd-person pronouns.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous lk said...

I am clearly entering this conversation a bit late, especially since I don't know any of you people, but if it's any consolation, I did leave a grumpily-worded post-it on that sign in Scottsdale when I first saw it.

Oh - I am instructed by my Newfie S.O. to say "hello" because he claims you all know each other. So, "hello".

7:10 AM  
Blogger Phugebrins said...

ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς in the above context is actually vocative. In Greek, the nominative and the vocative are mostly syncretised: anything placed in agreement with a locative but does not have a separate locative form, such as the definite article, ὁ, here, simply uses the nominative form.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The grammar point at issue is simply this. One can say: "John, you have always been my friend. Help me now" OR one can say: "John, who have always been my friend, help me now."
People should not say: "John, who has always been my friend, help me now," for this is tantamount to saying: "John, you has always been my friend. Help me now" OR "John, you is my friend. Help me now." The archaism of the words "which art" OR "thou art" is a completely different issue.

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