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’Twas Christmas

English translation: Not exactly

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10:47 May 22, 2005
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics
English term or phrase: ’Twas Christmas
I know that fairy tales begin with : Once upon a time... Is that the same idea ? I mean the contraction.
lien
Netherlands
Local time: 00:44
English translation:Not exactly
Explanation:
Once upon a time means at some time in the past, usually the remote past.
'Twas Christmas - archaic abbreviation for "It was Christmas" - is tied to something specific, in this case Christmas.
'Twas is similarly use in other opening sentences, such as "'Twas a dark and stormy night..."

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Note added at 12 mins (2005-05-22 10:59:48 GMT)
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Typo: \"...is similarly used...\"
Selected response from:

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:44
Grading comment
Thank you Dusty and all the commentators :D. I knew we would learn a lot about everything and more. Academic debate ? I hope so ! That's what make proz unique.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +17Not exactly
Jack Doughty
5 +10It was Christmas
Nick Lingris
4 +4contractionRHELLER
4 +1'twas the day before christmasxxxsarahl


  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +17
’twas christmas
Not exactly


Explanation:
Once upon a time means at some time in the past, usually the remote past.
'Twas Christmas - archaic abbreviation for "It was Christmas" - is tied to something specific, in this case Christmas.
'Twas is similarly use in other opening sentences, such as "'Twas a dark and stormy night..."

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 mins (2005-05-22 10:59:48 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Typo: \"...is similarly used...\"

Jack Doughty
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:44
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 197
Grading comment
Thank you Dusty and all the commentators :D. I knew we would learn a lot about everything and more. Academic debate ? I hope so ! That's what make proz unique.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxcmwilliams
1 min
  -> Thank you.

agree  Rina LS
3 mins
  -> Thank you.

agree  jrb
7 mins
  -> Thank you.

agree  Richard Benham: 'Twas brillig and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe. / All mimsy were the borogoves, / And the mome raths outgrabe.
50 mins
  -> Thank you. Also "'Twas the night before Christmas, and all though the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse..." See http://www.proz.com/post/186002 for Jabberwocky in French, German and other languages.

agree  Paula Vaz-Carreiro
1 hr
  -> Thank you.

agree  Robert Donahue
2 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  RHELLER
2 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Aisha Maniar
2 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  rangepost
2 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Tony M
3 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  PRAKAASH: well, can we use 'Twas or is it should be 'twas?? May be I'm not right!!
3 hrs
  -> Thanks. Depends if it's the first word in the sentence, in which case use 'Twas, even though the T is an abbreviation for It.

agree  tappi_k
3 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
6 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  airmailrpl: --
7 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Cristina Santos
12 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Refugio
13 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  KNielsen
19 hrs
  -> Thank you.
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4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +10
’twas Christmas
It was Christmas


Explanation:
It is an abbreviation of "it was", formerly common colloquially and in literature, now poetic or archaic, and dialectal. (Oxford English Dictionary).

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Note added at 2 hrs 55 mins (2005-05-22 13:42:44 GMT)
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Re the issue raised by Rita et al:
The Oxford English Dictionary uses the term ‘abbreviation’ to describe a number of shortened forms. Zounds, for example, is ‘a euphemistic abbreviation of by God\'s wounds’.
Strictly speaking, what we have in \'twas is aphaeresis (the taking away or suppression of a letter or syllable at the beginning of a word, e.g. round instead of around). See: http://ol.scc.spokane.edu/jstrever/poetry/a_terms.htm or http://www.truepoetmagazine.com/forms-styles.html
In a contraction, something gets dropped in the middle, e.g. he’ll, don’t, let’s, dept, Dr.
Therefore, I believe the OED’s ‘abbreviation’ is a much safer term than the AHD’s contraction.


Nick Lingris
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:44
Native speaker of: Native in GreekGreek
PRO pts in category: 52

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Richard Benham: 'Twas brillig and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe. / All mimsy were the borogoves, / And the mome raths outgrabe.
53 mins
  -> Thank you, Richard. I was about to respond with the Clement Moore poem, then I saw Jack had beaten me to it.

agree  Angie Garbarino
54 mins
  -> Thank you, Angioletta.

neutral  RHELLER: a contraction, not an abbreviation; please see my added note (Aphaeresis is one method of contraction)
2 hrs
  -> Thank you. But see my note too. If that's an issue...

agree  Aisha Maniar: yes, a contraction
2 hrs
  -> Thank you. But see my note too. If that's an issue...

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou: You are right; this is actually a typical example of "aphaeresis" - no harm to call it an abbreviation.
2 hrs

agree  Tony M: Fair enough, seems to have a more specific meaning in poetry; cf OED for why I thought it was defined differently...
3 hrs
  -> Yes, see my 'poetry' links.

agree  PRAKAASH: correct!
3 hrs
  -> All I did was a quick copy-and-paste of the OED definition and see what a nest of hornets I have stirred up.

agree  tappi_k
3 hrs
  -> Thank you.

agree  Balasubramaniam L.
4 hrs
  -> We have a tendency here to turn a non-pro question about fairy tales into a linguistic issue. :-))

agree  airmailrpl: -
7 hrs
  -> Thank you.

neutral  Refugio: There is nothing "safe" about imprecision.
13 hrs

agree  KNielsen
19 hrs
  -> Thank you.
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
’twas christmas
contraction


Explanation:
Contraction of it was.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.



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Note added at 3 hrs 15 mins (2005-05-22 14:02:59 GMT)
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Apostrophes also indicate letters left out in contractions:

\'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves.... (\'Twas = it was)
Who\'s going to claim the umbrella whose handle is broken? (who\'s = who is)
It\'s a long way to Tepperary.... (it\'s = it is)
http://www.amherst.edu/~writing/writingbetter/mechanics.html

Early Modern English
... extensive use of contractions. EMnE preferred proclitic contractions (\'tis), while PDE prefers enclitic contractions (it\'s). Graphics ... (also called Shakespeare\'s English)
mockingbird.creighton.edu/english/ worldlit/teaching/upperdiv/emodeng1.htm


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Note added at 3 hrs 20 mins (2005-05-22 14:07:41 GMT)
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Aphaeresis, apocope, hyphaeresis, synalepha, and syncope are methods of contraction.
4. Aphaeresis: is a technique of overt elision which drops the initial unstressed syllable—usually a vowel—of a word; i.e., “’til” for until, “’tis” for it is.
http://www.calvertonschool.org/waldspurger/pages/Poetic Sche...

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Note added at 5 hrs 25 mins (2005-05-22 16:12:19 GMT)
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it is unfortunate that some peers feel it necessary to turn Kudoz into an academic debate - which is really not helpful to askers in Eng-Eng who mainly come for clarification because their English is not good enough...citing dissertations from Finland will hardly help them in their translation work. I invite Mr. Subito to discuss this topic in forums, if he feels it necessary or advisable.

Re: the paper cited by Mr. Subito below is entitled \"variants of contraction: the case of it\'s and \'tis\".
\"Contractions are combinations of 2 forms in such a way that one of the elements is reduced and the combination functions like a single word\"



RHELLER
United States
Local time: 16:44
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 59

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Aisha Maniar: :-)
32 mins
  -> thanks Aisha :-)

neutral  Nick Lingris: It could be a case of 'you say tomayto, I say tomahto', but see this study and how calling it a contraction would be a novelty. http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&start=7&q=http://nora.hd.uib....
2 hrs
  -> see my added comment

agree  airmailrpl: -
5 hrs
  -> thanks airmailrpl :-)

agree  Refugio
10 hrs
  -> thanks Ruth :-)

agree  KNielsen
17 hrs
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
’twas christmas
'twas the day before christmas


Explanation:
opening line of a famous tale.

xxxsarahl
Local time: 15:44
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  xxxcmwilliams: 'Twas the Night before Christmas
21 mins
  -> oops! my mistake!

agree  KNielsen
13 hrs
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Voters for reclassification
as
PRO / non-PRO
PRO (1): Aimee
Non-PRO (3): Richard Benham, giogi, Aisha Maniar


Return to KudoZ list


Changes made by editors
May 22, 2005 - Changes made by Aisha Maniar:
LevelPRO » Non-PRO


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