Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Lessons from Christmas Songs

Christmas songs provide us with elements of warmth and joy that are sadly needed in times like these. They teach lessons of selflessness and brotherhood along with those of the what-can-Santa-bring-me sort. And, oddly enough, they can teach us some grammar lessons.

I recently ran across this interesting 2015 article from Mental Floss: 6 Grammar Lessons Hidden in Christmas Songs. Don't worry - you don't have to be a linguist to enjoy it, and you may learn something about the songs you sing along with the holiday mall music. One of the lessons I found particularly interesting concerns the traditional song, God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen, which suffers from the indignity of a somewhat-unexpected comma. The article tells us that the song does not tell us that the merry gentlemen should rest, but that the gentlemen should rest merry, which was a way of expressing good wishes in the English language of Shakespeare's time.

You need to watch those commas ... after all, they've caused no end of problems in other areas, such as in the Holy Second Amendment (let me hear you say hallelujah!), which reads,

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Those pesky commas between "Militia" and "being" and between "Arms" and "shall" have been argued and litigated ad nauseum by all sides of the gun rights argument, without any noticeable result other than a continually-rising body count.

But let us not discuss that now, because at this time of year I prefer to think about silent nights, little drummer boys, all the faithful coming, and whether you hear what I hear. There's plenty of time to think about the joy of deadly weapons the other 11 months of the year.

Have a good day, and rest merry. More thoughts tomorrow.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

I feel the same way too, Bilbo!

Big Sky Heidi said...

I never noticed the comma in the carol, "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" before. The inclusion of the comma does make a difference.

Mike said...

The missing comma joke 'It's time to eat grandma.' is a good example.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

I'll pass on Gramps in favor of the sweet potatoes.

allenwoodhaven said...

I did not know that! Rest Merry will be my new expression.