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labrador road 26
Member
#31 · Posted: 9 Nov 2006 14:19
My mistake I was looking at the page where Tintin throws the "spanner" and there it wasn't mentioned.
yamilah
Member
#32 · Posted: 14 Nov 2006 09:22
Please would someone be so kind to tell us if the 'asunder interests of Prof. Paul Cantonneau' make any sense?
Thanks in advance.
Balthazar
Moderator
#33 · Posted: 14 Nov 2006 10:44 · Edited by: Balthazar
The definition given by the Oxford dictionary for "asunder" is "apart".

It lists it as an adverb (ie a word used in connection with a verb, adjective or another adverb), rather than an adjective (a word that describes a noun). As the word "interests" (in the context of the sentence you're suggesting) is a pluralized noun, I think it would be incorrect to use the word asunder to describe those interests. Writing: "…the seperate interests of Prof Paul Cantonneau" (or "different interests") would be better English. Or, if you really wanted to use an adjective that has the same root as the adverb asunder, writing: "…the sundered interests of Prof Paul Cantonneau" would be grammatically correct. But you should be aware that the adjective* "sundered" implies that his interests have been actively seperated by someone, not just that they are seperate, so it depends on what you actually want to say.

That's what I think anyway. People who know more about English grammar than me might want to improve my explanation! (And I'm not saying you wouldn't ever find a phrase like "the asunder interests of Prof. Paul Cantonneau' in a book or academic paper about Tintin, but quite a few books and academic papers about Tintin are written in gobbledegook in my opinion!)

The Oxford dictionary also precedes its definition of asunder with the word "literary" in itallics. I think this is to indicate that while the word asunder is used in books and poetry, it's not used much in modern everyday English. I think the old Church of England marriage service (probably written in the late 16th or early 17th Century) contains a phrase something like:
"These whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder."
I could well be misremembering that completely but, in any case, note how the word asunder is connected to a verb (put). You can describe people as being put (or pulled) asunder; but you can't describe them as "asunder people" after the putting or pulling has happened! You'd have to describe them as "sundered people".

Maybe you'd also find the word asunder in the Bible, or in the plays of Shakespeare. The expression "rend asunder" rings a bell. (Rend is an archaic word meaning to tear or wrench forcibly.)

Hope that helps!

*(Belated self-correction regarding "sundered". The reason why this word would imply the prof's interests have been actively seperated is that it's not an adjective at all, but a past-tense verb. Just realised that. I knew I was slightly out of my depth on grammar! But my points about the possible use of "sundered" in this sentence still hold good, I think.)
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#34 · Posted: 14 Nov 2006 14:36
'asunder interests of Prof. Paul Cantonneau'

the seperate interests of Prof Paul Cantonneau" (or "different interests")

Can't improve on Balthazar's explanation although I prefer "the diverse interests of Prof. Paul Cantonneau" to "seperate" or "different" - maybe that's what yamilah was aiming for...?
Balthazar
Moderator
#35 · Posted: 14 Nov 2006 15:10 · Edited by: Balthazar
Harrock n roll
I prefer "the diverse interests of Prof. Paul Cantonneau"

Yep, you're dead right, Harrock n roll - "diverse" is definitely a better adjective for that sentence than the ones I suggested. (That's assuming that yamilah wants to describe the Prof's interests as being different from each other, not different from someone else's interests!)

Whichever word yamilah ends up choosing, the main point, of course, is that she must choose an adjective* to describe the noun "interests" not an adverb. Saying "the asunder interests of Prof. Paul Cantonneau" is like saying "the diversely interests of Prof. Paul Cantonneau'' !


*Or a past-tense verb. (See the self-correcting footnote to my previous posting.)
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#36 · Posted: 14 Nov 2006 16:14
Alternatively, yamilah might have been thinking of "poles asunder" meaning contrasting; "the contrasting interests of Prof. Paul Cantonneau".

Or perhaps yamilah just simply wants to use the word "asunder" in connection with Cantonneau, in which case one could say "Prof. Phostle's suitcase was almost torn asunder when it collided with Prof. Cantonneau's head !" ;-)
jock123
Moderator
#37 · Posted: 15 Nov 2006 09:32 · Edited by: jock123
A question has now been raised in my mind: is it diverse (“of a different kind, form, character, etc.; unlike” - Dictionary.com) which is required here, or is it actually divers (“several; various; sundry” - Dictionary.com)?
Balthazar
Moderator
#38 · Posted: 15 Nov 2006 10:02 · Edited by: Balthazar
Depends what yamilah wants to imply about the prof's interests, I guess. If his interests are merely various but not necessarily that different from each other (stamp collecting, envelope collecting, postmark collecting), then "divers" would be better - or indeed "sundry", which would get yamilah back to a word that at least shares its derivation with asunder, sundered etc. However, if we need to know that the good professor's interests are not only various but also quite different and seperate from each other (calligraphy, rollerblading, headbutting suitcases), then "divers" or "sundry" won't quite do the job, and diverse is the better word.

I hope yamilah gets in touch soon and puts us out of our suspense about what she's actually wanting to say with the phrase. Is this an academic thesis that we're all helping you out with, yamilah, or merely the phrasing of your next question? Happy to help, either way, but I'm curious!
jock123
Moderator
#39 · Posted: 15 Nov 2006 11:19
Balthazar
or indeed "sundry", which would get yamilah back to a word that at least shares its derivation with asunder, sundered etc.
Excellent! You caught my drift…!

Perhaps Prof. Cantonneau is actually interested in the divers divers depicted in the books?
Balthazar
Moderator
#40 · Posted: 15 Nov 2006 12:07 · Edited by: Balthazar
jock123
Perhaps Prof. Cantonneau is actually interested in the divers divers depicted in the books?

Good point. If yamilah accidentally adds an apostrophe after divers, her phrase would read:
"…the divers' interests of Prof. Paul Cantonneau", which implies that the professor's interests are ones he shares with the frogman community - wreck exploration, underwater piano playing, frollicking with dolphins etc.

Scuba-diving was only in it's infancy in the early 1940s (when Prof Cantonneau appears), but let's not forget that one of its pioneers, Jacques Cousteau, was an active member of the French resistance. So maybe Prof Cantonneau, far from being the Vichy-Regime-approved scientist he appears to be in The Shooting Star, is actually running a secret squad of Free French frogmen, who are following the Aurora in an attempt to sabotage the German-equipped, Axis/Falangist-staffed, anti-Jewish expedition that forms the rather embarrassing core of that story. But I'm possibly digressing.

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