re: The messy brilliance of the MY FAIR LADY film (VERY LONG!)
Posted by: AlanScott 02:23 am EDT 04/05/21
In reply to: re: The messy brilliance of the MY FAIR LADY film (VERY LONG!) - Michael_Portantiere 10:54 am EDT 04/02/21

Sorry that it has taken me a couple of days to get back to you. I got involved with responding to other posts, and putting this together took me some time, including cutting down a longer and more detailed draft.

The person who told you that "one should refer to people who live in Scotland not as 'the Scotch,' but 'the Scots'" is correct if you're talking about what you probably should say in 2021. Calling inhabitants and natives of Scotland the Scotch is now considered offensive by some, especially in Scotland. But in 1912 and 1956, it was common to say the Scotch when referring to inhabitants of Scotland. If you go to Merriam-Webster.com and dictionary.com and look up Scotch, you will see even now such definitions as Scottish, Scots, the people of Scotland, and of Scottish origin.

In the 1960s and even at least a couple of times in the 1970s (though less often), there were recordings issued of the Mendelssohn 3rd that called it the Scotch Symphony, rather than the Scottish Symphony.

I didn’t ask about your objection on "Arabians learn Arabian" because it is incorrect. Since you volunteered an answer to a question I didn’t ask, I will mention that the reason is not the one you gave, which I guess is what the same person told you. Today you might be unlikely to use the term Arabians because now there is Saudi Arabia (which did not exist as a country with that name till 1932), and the people who live in Saudi Arabia are generally known as Saudis, but you very likely would have used Arabians as a general term in 1912. I’m no expert on this but I think Arabians is, even now, a valid if rarely used word since Arabia is still a name used (though perhaps not often) for a geographic area that includes but is not limited to Saudi Arabia. So you might use the word if you wanted to refer to all the inhabitants of that large geographic area. You could also call them Arabs, but that term encompasses more than just the inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula. And I think Arabs would not necessarily be used to refer to all of the inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula. If I’m wrong about that, I hope someone will correct me.

The problem with "Arabians learn Arabian" is that there is no language called Arabian. The language is Arabic, which Higgins surely would have known.

As for “You should get a medal or be even made a knight,“ I believe that is correct. To change it to “even be made a knight“ would be incorrect. I quote Bryan A. Garner from the third edition of his Modern American Usage:

"Many writers fall into awkward, unidiomatic sentences when they misguidedly avoid splitting up verb phrases. Although most authorities squarely say that the best place for the adverb is in the midst of the verb phrase, many writers nevertheless harbor a misplaced aversion, probably because they confuse a split verb phrase with the split infinitive."

The authority he specifically cites is (no surprise) W. H. Fowler. Fowler is quite confusing discussing this. If I hadn’t first read Garner, I might not have been sure what Fowler was saying.

I am linking an article about this grammatical question. The relevant item there is 4.
Link Where do adverbs go?

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