A problem with metonymy

February 2, 2008 at 12:30 am (Arabic, Christianity, English, Hebrew, History, Islam, Judaism, Languages, Religion, Religions, Urdu/Hindi)

In the English language (and, in this specific regard, many other languages), “church” is a versatile word. It can refer to a particular building (or building style); it can refer to a particular congregation; it can refer to a particular denomination. So when someone says “the Catholic Church” (and here “says” is more important than “writes” because capitalization provides more clarity than the spoken word in this case), one can be referring to a particular building (St. Mary of the Angels Parish Church, perhaps), to a congregation (those that meet in St. John Cantius Parish Church), or to Roman Catholicism as a whole. The same applies to other denominations, almost all of which can be described as the “X Church” (the Lutheran Church; the Mormon Church; the Episcopalian or Anglican Church; the United Methodist Church; the Presbyterian Church; the Church of Christ, Scientist; the Orthodox Church; the Reformed Church; perhaps even the United Church of Christ). (Obviously this does not apply for everyone: exceptions I can think of are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Quakers, Pentacostals, Evangelicals, Christadelphians, Disciples of Christ. With Baptists, often “the Baptist church” refers to a specific building and/or congregation as there is no united Church of Baptists, each congregation being autonomous even in conventions or groups.)

But this is something only in Christianity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Two grammar questions regarding the phrase “Our Lord Jesus Christ”

December 27, 2007 at 12:30 am (Christianity, English)

Isn’t “Our Lord Jesus Christ” grammatically incorrect on two points?

First, why are we capitalizing “Our”? It does not refer to Jesus but to us, so ought it not to start with a lower-case letter?

Second, is it not true that when specifying something, commas are used when adding additional detail to the modified phrase whereas commas are not used when the specification is truly a specification? For example, is it not true that “my son Karl” means “of my sons, the one named Karl” whereas “my son, Karl(,)” means “my son, the only one, whose name, by the way, is Karl”? Thus does not “our/Our Lord Jesus Christ” imply that other lords than Him exist, whereas “our/Our Lord, Jesus Christ(,)” means there is only one and we’re specifying His name?

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Elder of Ziyon: Revealing the propaganda in Arab media

November 3, 2006 at 8:42 am (Arab society, Arabic, Arabs, Blogs, English, International community, Israel, Languages, Middle East, News, Palestinian Territories, The Media)

If you would like to see how deceptive the Arab media is with news and events regarding Arabs (including and especially Palestinians) and Israel, I suggest checking out Elder of Ziyon. The Elder of Ziyon does an excellent job of revealing discrepancies between reports in English and Arabic, as well as highlighting how much of Arab suffering is because of Arabs, although one would not know this if one is reading Arab media in English (or even in Arabic, in some instances).

Sidenote: “Ziyon” comes from a closer transliteration of the word usually rendered as “Zion”. This word is (ציון, tziyon) and occurs quite frequently in Jewish/Hebrew prayers.

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