Using Foreign Words in English

Discussion in 'Languages' started by Prufrock, Sep 11, 2009.

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  1. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    I have a question on proper form. When using a word from an inflected language while writing in English, is it proper to leave the word in its nominative case, or to place it in the declension proper to its role in the English sentence? This one always causes me to hesitate for a few seconds when writing.

    (I have seen it done both ways)
     
  2. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    While I do follow your question, may I see an example?
     
  3. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Is it a single word or a phrase?
     
  4. jogri17

    jogri17 Puritan Board Junior

    I have no idée quoi tu veut to say mais an example pourrait a good idea.
     
  5. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Anna, this would certainly be a dumb example, but...

    I went to the store with amico meo.

    or

    I went to the store with amicus meus.

    Ruben, that should answer your question as well.
     
  6. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    I vote for declension, having seen the examples. I translated both versions in my head, but the declension seems to make more sense to my untrained ear.
     
  7. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Second.
     
  8. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Perhaps a more fitting example:

    ...which impacts only the modus subsistendi, and not the essentia.

    Or

    ...which impacts only the modum subsistendi, and not the essentiam.
     
  9. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    This is H.W. Fowler's advice.

    From The King's English
     
  10. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    I defer to the expert...
     
  11. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Who would dare to deliberately transgress Fowler? But I have observed a different practice. "Jus divinum" is a good example: "there is a jus divinum of church government;" "church government is jure divino." Perhaps Fowler's examples are awkward for other reasons, e.g., ellipsis, gerund, etc.
     
  12. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    I have not been able to track down any authorities other than Fowler who address the matter, so I asked on A Way With Words to get a contemporary opinion. Skimming Browne, however, it seems that his usage is in line with what Mr. Winzer says, and with the linguistic authority of Sir Thomas I would think Fowler could be defied.

    Another argument may be the blending of languages by those who are so immersed as to be almost unaware of the difference - people living along the Mexico-US border are one case in point. In Tex-Mex the words are frequently jumbled up, but when a Spanish word is used it is declined as it would be had the whole sentence been uttered in normal Mexican Spanish.
     
  13. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Thanks Ruben, that's very helpful.
     
  14. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    To add to the authorities whose usage is not in accordance with Fowler's dictum, I think the section "The unwillingness of our chief adversaries, that the Scriptures should be divulted in the mother tongue, &c." in The Translator to the Reader from the AV has an instance to the contrary in the reference to Tertullian.

    Also Dryden in Of Dramatic Poesy and C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory (to give the practice of some of our most eminent critics from quite different times) will use inflected forms without always including the governing word.

    It seems to be an instance where the rule contradicts the practise, as when Dryden laid down that sentences should not be ended with prepositions.
     
  15. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I guess I'm just a purist. I also refuse to call these "forums" rather than "fora." It's just stubbornness.
     
  16. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    And here is the answer from the Way With Words forum.

     
  17. catechumen

    catechumen Puritan Board Freshman

    I would think that in the example above the ablative would be fine, but without the redundant 'with' beforehand. Surely the ablative on its own gives the same idea. I know Paul just gave it as an 'off the cuff' example, but my vague impression is that when Latin tags preserve a particular case ending, they tend to perform the same function in the English sentence as is indicated by their inflection.

    Just an offhand thought which I am sure can be proved wrong! However, it does help to make sense of Matthew's example of 'iure divino
     
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