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Heirs & Rebels.

In news slightly related to my earlier entry, I was shocked to come to the realization recently that a certain Mr. Nik Kershaw appears to have lifted one of his most recognizable mid-'80s melodies from a certain Mr. Ralph Vaughan Williams (co-editor of The English Hymnal with liturgist/hottie P.D.), specifically his Fantasia on Greensleeves. Please have a listen to both of these excellent pieces and tell me if I am reading hearing too much into the matter.

☞  Nik Kershaw – The Riddle  ☜
(The main melody, as in 0:05 – 0:28.)

☞  Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/Marriner – Fantasia on Greensleeves  ☜
(The middle third, which joins the two more traditional instances of "Greensleeves," esp. 02:09 – 02:30.)

† † † † †

And finally, a punctuation question. I will not judge you based on your answers, or subcategorize people or any of that nonsense. I just want to get a sense of what people think is correct or most acceptable. So please, answer truthfully and without fear...

Which would you use?

Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves
Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on Greensleeves
Vaughan Williamses Fantasia on Greensleeves
Vaughan William's Fantasia on Greensleeves

How would you pronounce it?

vahn williamz
vahn williamziz

Which would you use?

the Vaughan Williamses' weren't really Yellow Book types
the Vaughan Williams' weren't really Yellow Book types
the Vaughan Williams's weren't really Yellow Book types
the Vaughan Williamses weren't really Yellow Book types


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 13th, 2006 02:26 am (UTC)
i would pronounce it Vaughan. [two barely differentiated syllables] i would certainly not say, for instance, Evelyn Wah instead of Waugh [one syllable ;) ].
Jan. 13th, 2006 03:03 am (UTC)
I was totally conflicted over how to write the pronunciations. I mean, I learned the international phonetic alphabet for my History of the English Language class, but it's kind of confusing. So I tried umlauts and stuff, but eventually settled on what you see here. I admit it's not perfect, but I just wanted to focus on the end part.

How many syllables in William?? (Will-yum, Will-i-am)
Jan. 13th, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)
vaw_n will i ams
one has to be a very precise and attentive speaker to really do the two-syllable thing in Vaughn, but if one's got the energy and will.... :)

possessive of Williams is0 Williams'
Williams's would also be correct in form, but sounds crap.

notice how i'm talking about correct form in these, but am ignoring correct form in everything else i wrote except for spelling. and possibly grammar
Jan. 13th, 2006 02:26 am (UTC)
You know, I teach English to ESL students, and I justed started graduate studies in English Comp., but those questions flustered me...

I am honestly not sure what the correct and/or acccepted answers are.
Jan. 13th, 2006 03:06 am (UTC)
I'm not sure anyone is sure at this point! Seriously, I have my ideas, but I think it's a punctuation issue in flux, a lot like punctuation marks inside/outside of quotation marks.

Congrats on the graduate studies!
Jan. 13th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC)
You're probably right--and thanks!
Jan. 13th, 2006 03:15 am (UTC)
for the record, i got so obsessed with thinking about the last one that i thought it was supposed to be possessive at first --- i went back and changed my answer once i realized that it wasn't. (10 secs later?)
Jan. 13th, 2006 04:41 am (UTC)
Duly noted!
Jan. 13th, 2006 04:34 am (UTC)
I'm pretty certain about the first two, but not the third. But the real question for me is whether his name is pronounced Ralph or Raif (long a).
Jan. 13th, 2006 04:41 am (UTC)
Oh, it's RAFE for sure.
Jan. 13th, 2006 05:30 am (UTC)
also, vahn williamzizz
Jan. 13th, 2006 08:25 am (UTC)
Nothing to add grammatically; but Vaughn Williams (or Vahn Williamz) is an absolute, sovereign musical god to me.
How nice to see him discussed (if a bit!) on the old F.L.
Jan. 13th, 2006 12:31 pm (UTC)
Wow, finally someone other than me (and my dad and his friends) has mentioned Nik Kershaw. He's been a favorite of mine for decades, and I've tried but I really can't get anyone else to appreciate him as much as he deserves. That isn't to say that you do. But at least you acknowledge his existence. The Riddle and Human Racing are great albums.
Jan. 13th, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, I totally appreciate him! Even if he's lifting melodies, he's lifting them from the right places.

How did you even get to know his music? Did your dad work/record/tour with him or something? I agree, he was outrageously underappreciated in this country.
Jan. 13th, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
My dad was frequently blasting him through the house stereo when I was growing up. I think I remember my dad saying that he met him once, but it was only for my dad to say how much of a fan he was.
Jan. 13th, 2006 03:17 pm (UTC)
I have never even been tempted by anything other than williams' and "williams" (as the pronunciation). It's really not that odd to say, once you get used to it. I've never said anything else.

I'm beginning to overthink it now, but my first instinct on the last question is "none of the above." the plural of williams is williams. If I recall correctly, to make plural a word ending in [consanant] + "s", you leave it as is. to make plural a word ending in [vowel] + "s", you add "es." So, "harnesses," but also

(obviously, there are some nuances there. I believe where the final consant is a member of a "hissing sound" (ch, sh, etc), you add "es." also, where the vowel is "i" e.g., "synopsis," you change the "i" rather than adding an extra "es.")

so I started to overthink it, and found this.

still, i get the feeling my usage is correct, if perhaps archaic. ill see if i can find anything else.
Jan. 13th, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
oops, i meant to end that sentence with "williams," of course.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 13th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC)
Cool, thanks! I just sent you an e-mail.

Have you seen or heard anything about a new magazine called Cookie? It looks to be kind of a Lucky/Domino for children's stuff.
Jan. 13th, 2006 07:31 pm (UTC)
I would remonstrate very strongly for Vaughan Williams's. Most folks (as clearly indicated by your poll) simply leave it at a single apostrophe, because of how you make plural words like teachers (e.g.) possessive, as teachers'. But even though Vaughan Williams looks like a plural, it ain't. Therefore, apostrophe s.

Because it's so confusing, though, and there is a not inconsiderable percentage of readers who will get hung up on your Vaughan Williams'(s) for just a second, wondering if that (however that is) is really the way it ought to go, my strongest feeling is that you should just recast both sentences in some way so that it's no longer an issue, e.g.:

Fantasia on Greensleeves by Vaughan Williams

and maybe something like

'if any family was the Yellow Book type, the family of Vaughan Williams was not it.'

The second is awkward any way you put it, I think. I've only succeeded in making it wordier.

Or perhaps append it is a clause to a sentence ending in 'Vaughan Williams'?

'None of these criticisms would have been lost on Vaughan Williams; his family wasn't really the Yellow Book type.'
Jan. 13th, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm about to summarize my findings, so I suppose I can reveal my biases — which are that I agree with you on all points! (Except maybe that I don't find the Vaughan Williamses all that awkward.)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )