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Pastor
Posted: 25 May 2007 12:17 AM   [ Ignore ]
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While on my trip to Honduras, I discovered a curiosity of language.  A friend of mine is a Protestant Pastor from Germany and so introduced himself as a ”Pastor Alemán.” There was a short silence and then some polite laughter and a delightful round of explanations.  Pastor in Spanish also means “shepherd” as I noticed in Honduras at least, various menu items with that word in them, I suppose like ”shepherd’s pie” or some such.

Leads me to ask why Pastor, in German and English at least, lost the direct meaning of shepherd (of course behind the word is the meaning of shepherd). In at least those two languages, we developed other words while Spanish, evidently did not.

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Posted: 25 May 2007 02:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t think that ‘pastor’ lost the meaning of ‘shepherd’ in English - pastor is a Latin word, that was borrowed into English with a specific religious sense (I presume the same holds true for German), alongside of the Germanic word shepherd. In Spanish, there is no other word for ‘shepherd’, so the religious sense is no more than a metaphorical extension of the core meaning.

(Caveat: I have no reference materials available so this is off the top of my head.)

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Posted: 25 May 2007 03:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Nomis is right, the religious sense is the earlier one, although not by much.

I. A person who has charge of a flock (lit. and fig.).

1. a. A person who has the spiritual care of a body of Christians, as a bishop, priest, minister, etc.; spec. a minister in charge of a church or congregation, esp. (in later use) in the Lutheran and some other Protestant Churches. Cf. SHEPHERD n. 2a.
a1387 J. TREVISA tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John’s Cambr.) V. 187 {Th}at tyme in Egipt were noble fadres in her floures, Pastor Pambo, [etc.]. c1400 (c1378) LANGLAND Piers Plowman (Laud) B. XV. 488 {Th}ei ne went as cryst wisseth..To be pastours and preche.

2. A shepherd, a herdsman. U.S. and literary in later use.
c1400 (a1376) LANGLAND Piers Plowman (Trin. Cambr.) A. XI. 310 Pore peple, as plou{ygh}men and pastours [v.r. paustores] of bestis. 1484 CAXTON tr. Esope III. i, Of the pastour or herdman. 1539 R. TAVERNER tr. Erasmus Prouerbes sig. F8v, It is the partes of a good shepherde or pastor to sheare the shepe and not to plucke of theyr skinnes. 1609 Bible (Douay): Ezek. xxxiv. comm., Pastors do lawfully eate of the milke of their flock. 1697 DRYDEN tr. Georgics III, in Virgil Wks. 110 The Pastor shears their hoary Beards. 1774 T. PENNANT Tour Scotl. 1772 107 Flocks of sheep, attended by little pastors. 1885 A. H. KEANE in Jrnl. Anthropol. Inst. 15 225 Of these nomad pastors there are two classes: 1. Those who always stay with their herds… 2. Those who..migrate to the coast. 1940 E. FERGUSSON Our Southwest 177 The pastor, shepherd, was at everybody’s beck and call. 1993 Chinese Lit. 15 59 The frustrated pastor’s hyperbolic protestation of love in Idyll 3.

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Posted: 25 May 2007 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It surprises me that there would be any confusion in Spanish with regard to the extended, clerical sense of “pastor”.  The word is used in the Roman Catholic Church, though slightly more narrowly than in Protestant churches.  At least it is in English.  Is it not so used in Spanish?

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Posted: 25 May 2007 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Wasn’t the problem that he introduced himself as a dog? A german shepherd dog (alsatian dog) is pastor alemán See: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastor_aleman

As JFK might have said: ich bin ein Elsässer (or something like that)

[ Edited: 25 May 2007 06:43 AM by Myridon ]
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Posted: 25 May 2007 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Myridon - 25 May 2007 06:38 AM

Wasn’t the problem that he introduced himself as a dog?

No.  Others on our trip introduced themselves as “Pastor Americano” without confusion.  The alemán adjective was parallel.  The link in your note is the same one in my opening note.

The Roman Catholic usage is more narrow, as Richard says.  Not every priest is a pastor.  Just those who are heads of parishes, I think.  Though in the US it is not used as frequently in this sense—at least in my experience.  But there was no confusion in Spanish.  It’s just that the word has a double meaning in Spanish as nomis has noted, where it doesn’t in English or German, as far as I can tell.

Interesting that the religious meaning is first and the tender of a flock is extended from that.  I would have guessed that the reverse would have been true.

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Posted: 25 May 2007 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Interesting that the religious meaning is first and the tender of a flock is extended from that.

I think you may be attaching too much significance to the OED citations.  The latter sense is cited a few decades later in English, but both senses existed for the Latin word (and the literal shepherd sense was certainly first there) and its French cognate. It’s not likely that the “tender of a flock” sense developed from the clergy sense in English, but simply that the first (recorded) borrowing of the Latin or French word into English in that sense occurred slightly later than that in the religious sense.

And it’s not even clear that it was later.  Note that the “c1400” for the literal herder is then appended with “(a1376)”, while first citation for the religious sense says “a1387”.

[ Edited: 25 May 2007 11:16 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 25 May 2007 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Wasn’t the problem that he introduced himself as a dog?

No.  Others on our trip introduced themselves as “Pastor Americano” without confusion.  The alemán adjective was parallel.  The link in your note is the same one in my opening note.

Has this been thoroughly dealt with? If “pastor aleman” means German shepherd (dog) to Honduran Spanish speakers then that’s what it means and that’s why they found it funny. I think this may in fact be the crux, so to speak.  Also, the Rev’s link and Myridon’s link don’t go to the same page for me. Myridon’s has a picture of a German shepherd dog, and you know what they say about how much a picture is worth… It may be that “pastor aleman” is such a set phrase that it would be necessary to say ‘pastor from the country of Germany’ to avoid it.

In my life I’ve met one goatherd (who recently lost eleven goats to a vicious act of vandalism) but nary a shepherd. If someone introduced three people to me, one as a Basque shepherd, one as a Canadian shepherd, and one as a German shepherd, I might find it a little amusing as well, especially from a foreigner.

[ Edited: 25 May 2007 11:00 AM by foolscap ]
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Posted: 25 May 2007 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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In Dutch the head of a catholic parish is called a ‘pastoor’ (long -o-). His protestant colleague is a ‘dominee’.
Both churches also have ‘pastors’ (short -o-) but that term is reserved for clergymen (and at times laymen) that work in hospitals and similar.

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Posted: 25 May 2007 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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No.  Others on our trip introduced themselves as “Pastor Americano” without confusion.  The alemán adjective was parallel.

I agree with foolscap: the reason others introduced themselves as “pastor americano” without confusion is that “pastor americano” is not funny.  “Pastor alemán” is.  If several people introduced themselves as American shepherds and then some guy said “And I’m a German shepherd,” don’t you think it would get a laugh?

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Posted: 25 May 2007 11:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I think that only in English would the term “German Shepherd” be understood as referring unequivocally to a dog. The breed’s name in German is “Deutsche Schaeferhunde”, not “Deutsche Schaefer”. The Spanish-language websites that deal with this breed, refer to the dogs either as “pastor alemán” or as “perro pastor alemán” (German Shepherd dog), with about equal frequency.  If I were introducing the subject of German Shepherds into a conversation in Spanish, I would take care to say “perro pastor alemán”, at least initially. I was never in Honduras; but in those Spanish-speaking countries which I know personally, I think the expression “pastor alemán”, unless introduced in a specifically canine context, would be as likely first to evoke the image of a (human) German sheepherder, as that of a dog.

In Hebrew, if I were saying (cheerfully ;-) “my bank manager was attacked by a German Shepherd”, I would use the term kelev ro’eh germani ; whereas in a conversation about dogs, i would omit kelev (dog).

BTW: In English, the word “pastoral” retains both the clerical and the secular senses in equal measure:  “pastoral scene”, “pastoral duties”.

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Posted: 26 May 2007 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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But lionello, the original post is about the fact that the Spanish expression did get a laugh, which rather refutes your point.

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Posted: 26 May 2007 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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All i meant was that “Yo soy pastor alemán” might sound as quaint to a Spanish-speaking group (if they weren’t dog-savvy), as if a respectable, clerical-looking gentleman were to introduce himself to an American audience with the words “I’m a German goatherd”. A bit off-beat, to say the least --- perhaps enough to evoke a polite smile or a laugh, to hide a momentary embarrassment arising out of incomprehension.

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Posted: 26 May 2007 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Alexandra [a Bavarian]: Ein Deutsche Scheffenhund! A German Shepard dog!
Me [an American]: In English we don’t say ‘German Shepard dog’. We just say ‘German Shepard.’
Alexandra: Yes, but in zee Zjerman language, vee must distingwish betveen zee dog and zee hyoomon being.

After a moment’s consideration, I am curious why the breed is qualified as German. ‘Scheffenhund’ says as much. After all, in Morocco, Morocco Mole is just ‘Mole’.

[ Edited: 26 May 2007 03:16 PM by Thews McHeftigan ]
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Posted: 26 May 2007 07:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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According to the German Wikipedia article titled Deutscher Schäferhund, the breed was created specifically to be a German dog, distinct from other breeds. The first such dog was recorded in the breed book (Zuchtbuch) in 1895. There were and are numerous sheep-herding breeds in and around Germany, I suppose. It’s surprising that the breed is so new; apparently it was successful right from the beginning and really hit its stride in the 1920’s. Interesting also that the original dog had a much more wolflike appearance.

edit: In fact the original dog was not the result of breeding efforts but was selected as the progenitor of the breed.

[ Edited: 26 May 2007 08:33 PM by foolscap ]
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Posted: 27 May 2007 06:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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That’s not that new. Few dog breeds date from before the 1890s.  The first dog show was held in England in 1859. The Kennel Club wasn’t formed until 1873.

One of the amazing things about genetics is the explosion of diversity in dogs beginning in the mid-19th century. In the span of only a century, humans created most of the dog breeds we know today. (There was selective breeding prior to this and some diversity by type, but it was more for desired traits like speed or sense of smell rather than to meet a set standard that constituted what a “breed” was.)

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