Welcome to Larry Andrews' website.

Greetings and welcome to my blog spot.

I've written two novels since my retirement in 2008. The first is a romance, Songs of Sadness, Songs of Love. The second is an action/mysteryThe China-Africa Parallax: A Ryan and Gillian Mystery.

Among the textbooks I have written areLinguistics for L2 Teachers, Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, 2001; and Language Exploration and Awareness: A Resource Book for Teachers, 3rd edition, Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, 2006. This textbook was translated into Korean by Pagijong Press, Seoul, South Korea. 2010.

I am presently writing my third Ryan and Gillian novel, The Nathan Culper Brotherhood. You can follow my progress on novel #3 here at this blog site.

To order any of my titles please go either to nook.com or amazon.com (Kindle users can go to the Kindle Store.).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman

When the peasants of England sang God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen more than 500 years ago, they understood a vastly different meaning from what people in America think today when they hear it. 
       "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" was sung for hundreds of years before being published in the 1800s. Queen Victoria loved Christmas carols so during her time this song began to find favor in the Anglican Church. Soon the protestant English clergy of that era were even enthusiastically teaching "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" to their congregations. Moving to both Europe and America, the carol became a favorite throughout the Christian world. It is still sung in much the same way as it was five hundred years ago.
               The problem is that few of today’s singers fully understand the beginning of the carol. This is because language is dynamic and words change over time.
       Today, when people say Merry Christmas, they mean “happy.” Five hundred years ago, when "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" was written, “merry” had a very different meaning.
        You know of Robin Hood’s "Merry Men." Now, they may have been happy, but in the time of Robin Hood the word “merry” that described them meant “great or mighty.” Thus, in the middle ages a strong army was a merry army, a great singer was a merry singer, and a mighty ruler was a merry ruler.
       So when the English carolers of the Victorian era sang, "merry gentlemen," they meant great or mighty men. Even when translated to "God rest you mighty gentlemen," the song still makes very little sense.
        This is because another word that has a much different meaning in today’s world and a punctuation mark that has been lost. The word "rest" in "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" simply meant “keep or make.” Yet to completely uncover the final key understanding the meaning, a comma needs to placed after the word “merry.”
       Therefore, in Modern English, the first line would read "God make you mighty, gentlemen." Using this translation the old carol suddenly makes perfect sense, as does the most common saying of the holidays, "Merry Christmas."
       You just have to know how to translate the words into Modern English and have a very Mighty Christmas!

No comments:

Post a Comment