RE: Lest anyone be interested page 7

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Robert Bannister:
[nq:1]I in[/nq]
[nq:2]Archaic in England maybe? but less so in America. ... why "lest" is becoming archaic in England? Mike Hardy[/nq]
[nq:1]I got the opposite impression. Consider the song popular on New Year's Eve: Auld Lang Syne. Here, I am only ... a particularly common but it does get some use outside of set phrases. Dying maybe, but not quite dead yet.[/nq]
I'm fairly certain I've heard people singing "Let old acquaintance..." without being aware of the change in meaning.

Rob Bannister
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=?iso-8859-1?B?U2XhbiBPJ0xlYXRobPNiaGFpcg==?=:
[nq:2]I in I got the opposite impression. Consider the song ... of set phrases. Dying maybe, but not quite dead yet.[/nq]
[nq:1]I'm fairly certain I've heard people singing "Let oldacquaintance..." without being aware of the change in meaning. Rob Bannister[/nq]
I have heard that as well. Previously, it did not surprise me since "Lest" is not a common word and people rarely try to make sense of song lyrics.
Now that I find myself in a small minority of lesters, it is more surprising. =20

Se=E1n O'Leathl=F3bhair
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[nq:2]I have not heard the phrase "Negative polarity item" before.[/nq]
[nq:1]Then you're plainly not in the habit of reading your namesake's postings. NPIs have featured in the majority of those ... previous aue postings), which I'd recommend to anyone with an interest in the structure of English. Mark Barratt Budapest[/nq]
Thanks but was my guess of the meaning correct?
When I notice my doppelganger's postings, I usually read them but I had not noticed NPIs before.
I have occasionally looked at his web site and it is indeed interesting but large. I followed the link in his posting but it gave examples without an explanation. I expect that the explanation is in the site somewhere but I did not have time to look. =20

Se=E1n O'Leathl=F3bhair
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Mark Barratt:
(concerning John Lawler and "Negative Polarity Items")
[nq:1]I have occasionally looked at his web site and it is indeedinteresting but large. I followed the link in his ... an explanation. I expect that the explanation is in the site somewhere but I did not have time to look.[/nq]
OK, I have time:
try http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/aue/npi.html

=20
Mark Barratt
Budapest
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Donna Richoux:
[nq:2]I got the opposite impression. Consider the song popular on ... because "lest" was even less well known over your side.[/nq]
(Already responded re Robert Burns having "should")
[nq:2]I would not regard "lest" as a particularly common but ... of set phrases. Dying maybe, but not quite dead yet.[/nq]
[nq:1]I'm fairly certain I've heard people singing "Let old acquaintance..." without being aware of the change in meaning.[/nq]
I just checked to see if this some was some sort of missing link. Unfortunately, Google shows that "let" isn't any more common than "lest" in that phrase, not in Web hits:
"let old acquaintance" 62
"let auld acquaintance" 41
Repeating earlier findings:
"lest old acquaintance" 52
"lest auld acquaintance" 61
"should old acquaintance" 725
"should auld acquaintance" 11,400
It's coming back to me (Jan 2002 discussion) that singing "Auld Lang Syne" on New Year's Eve is a tradition started or popularized by bandleader Guy Lombardo.
http://www.npr.org/programs/atc/features/2001/dec/lombardo/011231.lombar do.html
every New Year's Eve from the 1930s until the 1970s first on radio, later on TV Guy Lombardo's
version of "Auld Lang Syne" signaled the end of one year and the start of another.
The song itself is older than Robert Burns, even he said he wrote it down from an old man though he used a different tune. But the association to New Year's isn't any older than Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer or a bunch of popular holiday songs.
The point being that this makes it easier for me to understand why Britons wouldn't know the words to this song, since it's not really part of their own tradition.

Best Donna Richoux
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K. Edgcombe:
[nq:1]"lest old acquaintance" 52 "lest auld acquaintance" 61 "should old acquaintance" 725 "should auld acquaintance" 11,400 It's coming back to ... to understand why Britons wouldn't know the words to this song, since it's not really part of their own tradition.[/nq]
I'm surprised to hear that it isn't part of our tradition; we've been singing it for the last fifty years to my personal knowledge, and it didn't seem to be a new idea to my parents. I don't know that it was limited to New Year's Eve; in my youth it was standard at the end of any occasion involving Scottish dancing - which was and is a very widespread pastime all over the UK. It was always "should auld acquaintance".
When did Guy Lombardo take it up?
Katy
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Donna Richoux:
[nq:2]It's coming back to me (Jan 2002 discussion) that singing ... song, since it's not really part of their own tradition.[/nq]
[nq:1]I'm surprised to hear that it isn't part of our tradition; we've been singing it for the last fifty years ... dancing - which was and is a very widespread pastime all over the UK. It was always "should auld acquaintance".[/nq]
It's the association with New Year's Eve that I meant. Clearly it's an old song, and it has associations with endings and farewells, but for how long has it been a New Year's custom to sing the song?

I threw in "started or popularized" to cover the old dilemma it's pretty easy to show that Guy Lombardo was famous for doing the song on New Year's Eve, but whether he started that trend or merely popularized a custom that was known to a smaller percentage of the American public, I can't say.
Unfortunately, an URL on the history that I mentioned in 2002 is no longer working. I can find sites that make assertions, such as Wikipedia:
Lang Syne
Guy Lombardo popularized the association of the song with the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.
But that doesn't prove much, does it. How does one prove that a song was not routinely sung on such an occasion before? Find descriptions of New Year's Eve celebrations in older literature, and note its absence?
[nq:1]When did Guy Lombardo take it up?[/nq]
Wikipedia says 1929 I assume they mean that was the first time he broadcast it on a New Year's Eve.
Ah, here's a fuller piece, from an InfoPlease article on New Year's traditions:
http://www.infoplease.com/spot/newyearcelebrations.html But it was bandleader Guy Lombardo, and not Robert Burns, who popularized the song and turned it into a New Year's tradition. Lombardo first heard "Auld
Lang Syne" in his hometown of London, Ontario, where it was sung by Scottish immigrants. When he and his brothers formed the famous dance band, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, the song became one of
their standards. Lombardo played the song at
midnight at a New Year's eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1929, and a tradition was born. After that, Lombardo's version of the song was played every New Year's eve from the 1930s until

1976 at the Waldorf Astoria. In the first years itwas broadcast on radio, and then on television. The song became such a New Year's tradition that "Life magazine wrote that if Lombardo failed to play 'Auld Lang Syne,' the American public would not believe
that the new year had really arrived."
Then, assuming this is true, the only remaining question is one of transpondential communication how quickly did this custom cross the Atlantic?

Best Donna Richoux
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K. Edgcombe:
[nq:1]It's the association with New Year's Eve that I meant. Clearly it's an old song, and it has associations with endings and farewells, but for[/nq]
Ah, but the fact that we sang it on many other occasions but not (perhaps) especially on New Year's Eve is not a reason why we wouldn't know the words, is it?
Katy
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Donna Richoux:
[nq:2]It's the association with New Year's Eve that I meant. Clearly it's an old song, and it has associations with endings and farewells, but for[/nq]
[nq:1]Ah, but the fact that we sang it on many other occasions but not (perhaps) especially on New Year's Eve is not a reason why we wouldn't know the words, is it?[/nq]
Of course not. I was trying to come up with some halfway plausible reason why people were getting the words of a famous song wrong, and the best I could come up with was that maybe singing it at New Years was primarily an American thing (from Guy Lombardo) and maybe not a longstanding British thing.
I see the way that I put it did not highlight the feeble speculative nature of that point. "Since it's not really part" does come out as far stronger than I intended please change it to "if".

Sorry Donna Richoux
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