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Posted: 16 April 2017 10:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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“Everyone who is not familiar with Greek; nevertheless, might understand that the expression, the hoi polloi, is redundant.”

Pardon my asking, but precisely which side of the Mobius strip are you occupying?

I already explained my comment in a previous post. One doesn’t need to be a Greek scholar to understand the meaning of hoi polloi; Just as one doesn’t need to be a Greek scholar to understand the meaning of Parataxis and hypotaxis. After all, these are now English words.

You offer an article in support of the assertion that there may be a ‘redundancy side of the argument’,
yet that very article concludes that there is no redundancy in the English usage of the hoi polloi:

Actually, I did not submit the article to support the redundancy side of the argument. I offered the article as an example of how prolific redundancies are in English and the fact that it is not bad grammar.

However, the article does say:

We can include the word the with hoi polloi (the hoi polloi) since hoi means “the” in Greek, the English the might seem redundant. Other examples include consensus of opinion, hollow tube, and refer back, which critics claim bear an unnecessary modifier or qualifier. So much has been written and said about these phrases, this contribution may seem like, as Yogi Berra so redundantly put it, “déjà vu all over again.”

There is no question that phrases like these are redundant: one word repeats semantic information found in the other. All adages are old by definition and what other kind of telepathy is there besides mental? The question is whether redundancy is bad grammar.”

As to your “properly used” notation, I suggest that there may be some space between Greek usage and the common English sense.  My dictionaries support your statement that it means ‘the masses’ in Greek.  They also confirm that the English term generally carries a mildly derogatory sense.  Not exactly the same thing, are they?

AHD-Dictionary

Usage Note: The phrase hoi polloi comes from Greek, where it means “the masses,” and properly used, the English word means the same thing. In our 2002 survey, 95 percent of the Usage Panel approved of the example Stars who had arrived in stretch limos were elbow-to-elbow with the hoi polloi who had come on the subway.

Bold emphasis mine.

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Posted: 17 April 2017 12:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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.

Sahara Desert is not tautological in English because in English sahara does not mean “desert,” rather it is a proper name for one particular desert.

What you’re saying makes sense; however, Sahara can stand alone without designating it a desert. One could easily be understood by saying: “The heat in the Sahara was unbearable.”

It is no more tautological than Mississippi River.

That’s a false analogy; Mississippi is more than just a river. It’s also a state, a lake, a county etc. It can’t stand alone unless one specifically refers to an action performed on a river; e.g. “I’m going water rafting on the Mississippi.”

Interestingly, Mississippi comes from Ojibwa misisipi meaning “big river.”

http://www.thefullwiki.org/List_of_tautological_place_names

Likewise hoi polloi has been imported into English as a noun, not as an article + noun. No one uses just hoi to mean “the” in English.

That’s true, but the meaning, as it’s defined in dictionaries, includes the article the as in, “the masses”, “the many.”

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Posted: 17 April 2017 12:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I’ll start saying the polloi to see how that flies.

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Posted: 17 April 2017 03:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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What you’re saying makes sense; however, Sahara can stand alone without designating it a desert. One could easily be understood by saying: “The heat in the Sahara was unbearable.”

But it still doesn’t mean simply desert. You can’t use Sahara in English to refer to the Mojave or Gobi. Meanings shift during translation. What a word means in one language is not determinative of what it means in a language that borrows it.

That’s true, but the meaning, as it’s defined in dictionaries, includes the article the as in, “the masses”, “the many.”

Most dictionary definitions include an article. The fact that there is one here doesn’t tell us anything specific about the term.

I never conceded because I never objected to the usage.  Regarding the redundancy aspect I think it’s arguable. Let’s leave it at that.

All of us here are surely aware that the question of how it stands in Greek is quite irrelevant.

I don’t understand that statement. If you’re referring to the translation of hoi polloi from Greek to English then it is relevant. The phrase comes from Greek where it means the masses and in English, when properly used, means the same thing. Hence, the only issue is the redundancy side of the argument.

You contradict yourself when you argue that not using the definite article is unobjectionable and then a couple of lines later say that it is proper to use the definite article. Another example of being on the Mobius strip.

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Posted: 17 April 2017 04:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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lionello - 16 April 2017 01:47 PM

(P.S. wish you better success, the second time around).

Well, we’ve been together now for around 30 years so I’m hoping this one will last!
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crosses fingers ;-)

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Posted: 17 April 2017 04:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Logophile - 17 April 2017 12:31 AM

....... however .......

Not for the first time, Logophile, you’re trying to defend an indefensible position. My advice is to stop digging.

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Posted: 17 April 2017 06:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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I understand that these expressions are acceptable usages in English, but it only takes a minimum amount of effort to try to understand the origin of these words, especially since they are foreign and now part of the English language.

No one cares about the origin of words. Why should they? There’s a few crackpots like us, but the vast majority of people rarely even consult a dictionary. To suppose that people should care about these things is to ignore what one can easily observe about how people use language. “A minimum of effort” is huge compared to the zero effort that is the norm. No one cares about the origin of words because etymology doesn’t matter. You don’t need to know where words or expressions come from to use them. You use them the way you hear them being used. We learn language and usage from each other. No other knowledge necessary. Usage is the only thing that matters and the usage is the hoi polloi.

Talking about the redundancy of “the hoi polloi” and “IBM machine” and all the other things people say is just something some people do for personal entertainment. Nobody else cares.

[ Edited: 17 April 2017 06:46 AM by happydog ]
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Posted: 17 April 2017 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Hear, hear!

(Error Message:  Unable to receive your submission at this time)

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Posted: 17 April 2017 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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The phrase comes from Greek where it means the masses and in English, when properly used, means the same thing.

You contradict yourself when you argue that not using the definite article is unobjectionable and then a couple of lines later say that it is proper to use the definite article. Another example of being on the Mobius strip.

How am I contradicting myself? In my above statement I’m not referring to the use of the definite article.  I’m referring specifically to the definition. As you know, many people use the word to refer to an upper class group of people, which is the opposite of its etymological meaning. I already sent a link from AHD in a previous comment as an explanation.

AHD
“The phrase hoi polloi comes from Greek, where it means “the masses,” and properly used, the English word means the same thing. In our 2002 survey, 95 percent of the Usage Panel approved of the example Stars who had arrived in stretch limos were elbow-to-elbow with the hoi polloi who had come on the subway. But many people use the word to refer to the upper crust of society—the exact opposite of its etymological meaning. The confusion may have arisen because of the similarity in sound of hoity toity,which means “pretentiously self-important, haughty.” A small but significant portion of the Panel (28 percent) accepted this usage in the example The luxurious sets in the movie evoke the lifestyle of the hoi polloi in the early 20th century. This suggests that some people will allow either meaning of the word, perhaps out of sympathy for fellow speakers of English who did not study Greek.”

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Posted: 17 April 2017 11:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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The phrase comes from Greek where it means the masses and in English, when properly used, means the same thing.

You are saying it means the same thing, i.e., the masses, with the article part of both the Greek and English definitions. But in English it means the masses, which is not the same thing as the masses. In this case, since the original discussion was about the definite article, not the class distinction, your readers were primed to misunderstand what you wrote. The AHD usage note did not have this priming, and they went on to further define exactly what they were writing about, which you did not do.

When writing about language you have to be very careful about and precise in the phrasing or people, like me, will misunderstand what you mean.

Also, you should have cited AHD when you copied their words.

[ Edited: 17 April 2017 11:58 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 17 April 2017 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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The AHD usage note goes on to say:

A second problem is related to the word hoi, which is the Greek definite article. Thus, for those who know their Greek, the expression the hoi polloi is a redundancy meaning “the the masses.” Nonetheless, 78 percent of the Panel said that they used the with hoi polloi. The expression is an English one, after all.

Bolding added.

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Posted: 17 April 2017 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Also, you should have cited AHD when you copied their words.

I did, twice.

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Posted: 17 April 2017 02:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Not the first time, which is the time that counts. There wasn’t even an indication that you were quoting someone else. You represented the statement as your own words.

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Posted: 17 April 2017 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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aldiboronti - 17 April 2017 04:40 AM

Logophile - 17 April 2017 12:31 AM
....... however .......

Not for the first time, Logophile, you’re trying to defend an indefensible position. My advice is to stop digging.

Indefensible for whom? (No need to respond)

I shall compulsively dig in search for the truth.

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Posted: 17 April 2017 10:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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You’ve reminded me of Jeremy from CinemaSins who expresses his disapproval every time he sees the DC Comics logo.

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