Saint-Esprit
Posted: 11 February 2008 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Pursuant to a previous Holy Ghost post, I have just found out this is the French for that, which perhaps suggests it is considered an entity by speakers of that language. However, it is the only hyphenated Saint in French according to French wiki. Any ideas why? All the other saints were human so what does the hyphen signify?
How is it represented in other languages?

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Posted: 11 February 2008 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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"Heilige Geest” in Dutch. Simply an adjective and a noun.

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Posted: 11 February 2008 11:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Spirito Santo in Italian, Espiritu Santo in Spanish

Found one more hyphenated saint in French: Saint-Sylvestre, the French term for New Yeat’s Eve.

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Posted: 11 February 2008 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It’s not the name of a saint, so there’s no reason it would be treated like a saint’s name.

Edit: Other hyphenated terms: la Sainte-Alliance, saint-bernard [dog], Saint-Domingue [island], le Saint-Empire, la Saint-Jean [Midsummer’s Day], le Saint-Laurent [river], etc. etc.

[ Edited: 11 February 2008 11:35 AM by languagehat ]
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Posted: 11 February 2008 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Not sure the hyphen in this case follows a hard-and-fast rule.  St. Exupéry seems to be listed about equally as St.-Exupéry.

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Posted: 11 February 2008 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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In the first place, that’s not the name of a saint, it’s a family name.  In the second place, it’s not decided by Google hits: his name was Saint-Exupéry, and whether people spell it with or without the hyphen or abbreviate “Saint” has no effect on it.  It is what it is.

To be clear: actual saints’ names do not have hyphens.  Other names based on saints’ names frequently do.

Found one more hyphenated saint in French: Saint-Sylvestre, the French term for New Yeat’s Eve.

Again, that’s not a saint’s name, it’s a name based on a saint’s name.  The saint is Saint Sylvestre.

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Posted: 12 February 2008 07:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The confusion with saints’ names versus not-saints’ names stems in part from English having at least two words, “saint” and “holy”, where Romance languages use their version of “saint”.  A familiar example is Santa Fe, New Mexico.  This isn’t named after Saint Fay.  The latter bit means “faith”.  The original full name was “La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís”.  If rendered into English we would probably use something like “Holy Faith”.

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Posted: 12 February 2008 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Exactly, and another classic example is Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, which is often translated “Saint Sophia” but which is actually “Holy Wisdom”; as Warren Treadgold says in his history of Byzantium, “The dedication was to Christ as the Wisdom of God, a description of the Son acceptable to both Arians and Orthodox.” (Arianism was a popular early heresy that claimed Jesus was not of the same substance as God; it’s named after a guy called Arius and has nothing to do with Aryans!)

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Posted: 12 February 2008 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Additionally, from a quick look around its use in the “Trintity” sense seems to be both with and without hyphen, and to complicate things further can also be “Esprit(-)Saint”.  When used as part of another name (as per LH’s 2nd post) it always has the hyphen (except of course where it doesn’t, but that’s french grammar).

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Posted: 14 February 2008 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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It’s interesting, as LH says, that tangibles like saint-bernard are hyphenated as well but I can’t work out why Saint-Esprit is unless it means they are uncertain how to define it and into which category it falls.
What about the unhyphenated English surname St John (pronounced Sinjun)? Norman St John Stevas was a Catholic Tory politician in the Thatcher years and I could only ever pronounce his name doing a Margaret Rutherford impression. Or maybe I am confusing her with Margaret Dumont in the Marx Bros films? You have to sound frowsty and outraged anyway.
As said Antoine de Saint Exupery is from a place, hyphenated or not.

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