[Ads-l] Query concerning the removal of "French" from "French horn" (2nd try)

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Wed Jun 24 02:34:58 UTC 2015

I know nothing of horns or French horns, but I am concerned about the 
claim that "almost everywhere" outside the Anglosphere it is known as 
just a horn, but only three languages are cited--French, Italian and 
German--not a world tour by a long shot.

According to Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/French_horn), 
the French is not merely "cor" but "cor d'harmonie," the Italian is not 
merely "corno" but "corno francese," and the German is not merely "horn" 
but "Waldhorn."

The French Wiki article on cor 
(https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cor_%28musique%29) says that there are 
different sorts, including cor d'harmonie and cor naturel.

The Italian Wiki article on corno 
gives a number of types. It also says "Viene anche chiamato Corno 
francese ma non è chiamato così per essere distinto da quello inglese, 
ma dal 1971 l'International Horn Society ha suggerito il termine corno 
per antonomasia," which I think means that the word "corno" has come to 
be called "corno francese" not to distinguish it from the English horn 
but because of a 1971 decision having to do with autonomasia.

I will not attempt the German page 
(https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horn_%28Musikinstrument%29), but 
certainly a number of horns are mentioned. The start of the article says 
"Das Waldhorn oder einfach Horn, auch Corno genannt," which seems to 
mean that "Horn" is used to mean "Waldhorn."

Among the Mandarin equivalents to French horn on the Wiktionary page are 
??? and ???, where the first character in each almost certainly means 
France. Some of the other languages seem to indicate just "horn" while 
others seem to have finer distinctions.

The Japanese Wikipedia page 
(https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%9B%E3%83%AB%E3%83%B3) is ??? 
(horun = horn), and provides an explanation:


which basically means: "horun" is "corno" in Italian and "cor" in 
French, with the original meaning being "(animal) horn), but which had 
from long ago the meaning of "horn/bugle made of a horn." Today, "horun" 
generally often refers to the French horn.

In parallel with the French horn, this Japanese page provides ???????? 
(the Vienna horn) and ????????? (natural horn). See 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_horn and 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_horn for those horns.

It appears that "horn" and "French horn" are both used in Korean 
(https://ko.wikipedia.org/wiki/%ED%98%B8%EB%A5%B8), though perhaps there 
are distinctions such as in Japanese and English (i.e., Vienna/natural 
horn) that are simply not expressed on the Korean Wiki page.

My overall impression from the above is that while "horn" and its 
equivalents in some languages have come to mean "French horn," because 
there are different sorts of horns, whether "horn" or its other-language 
equivalent means "French horn" or "some type/general horn" is probably 
dependent on context, and the knowledge of the speaker and interlocutor. 
Also, the Wiktionary equivalents may be deficient in that some languages 
might have two versions but only one has been provided.

I cannot help the correspondent with attempts to change the situation, 
but I hope this quick summary is of use nevertheless.

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

Learn Ainu! https://sites.google.com/site/aynuitak1/home
> Cohen, Gerald Leonard <mailto:gcohen at MST.EDU>
> June 23, 2015 at 5:31 PM
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header 
> -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at MST.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Query concerning the removal of "French" from "French horn"
> (2nd try)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> My first attempt a few minutes ago turned up as gibberish on my 
> computer; h=
> ere's a second try:
> ---
> Yesterday I received a query from a musician in the St. Louis Symphony 
> wond=
> ering if the effort of the International Horn Society to remove 
> "French" fr=
> om "French horn" has any chance of success (answer: probably not) and 
> wheth=
> er I'm aware of any other attempts to change language (vernacular) by 
> a pre=
> scriptive decree or strong recommendation.
> The latter question is particularly interesting. Would any of you have 
> exam=
> ples of vernacular speech being changed by decree/recommendation?
> Below my signoff is the message I received, presented here with 
> permission.
> Gerald Cohen
> P.S. In a follow-up message Mr. Kaza sent me the exact wording 
> pertaining t=
> o his society's position on the term "French horn":
> "The International Horn Society recommends that HORN be recognized as 
> the c=
> orrect name for our instrument in the English language." --- [From the 
> Minu=
> tes of the First General Meeting, June 15, 1971, Tallahassee, Florida, 
> USA]
> ________________________________
> From: Roger Kaza [kazawolf at gmail.com<mailto:kazawolf at gmail.com>]
> Sent: Monday, June 22, 2015 10:23 AM
> To: Cohen, Gerald Leonard
> Subject: Question from local musician
> Dear Dr. Cohen,
> <snip> I am a local classical musician doing some research on the name 
> of m=
> y instrument, and wondered if you might have a minute to point me in 
> the ri=
> ght direction.
> The problem is, my instrument has two names in English: either "French 
> horn=
> ," or just "horn." Almost everywhere else in the world it is known by 
> one n=
> ame, corresponding to horn...corno in Italian, cor in French, horn in 
> Germa=
> n, etc. However, the prefix "French" horn was used in England as far 
> back a=
> s the 1600s, for various historical reasons which are well-known. 
> Today, fo=
> r most people who speak English, it is a much more specific 
> unambiguous ter=
> m than the generic "horn" which is often use to describe any wind 
> instrumen=
> t or a jazz band "horn" section.
> In 1971 the newly-formed International Horn Society decreed that 
> "horn" sho=
> uld be the official name for our instrument in the English language, 
> and th=
> ose of us who play it should presumably educate everyone else. 
> However, sin=
> ce that time, nothing has changed, and it is still referred to both 
> ways pr=
> obably as much as it ever was. Generally, high-culture publications 
> (progra=
> ms, reviews, orchestra rosters, CDs etc) use "horn" and everyone else 
> uses =
> "French horn." Most dictionaries acknowledge both; Oxford calls "horn" 
> shor=
> t for "French horn."
> My question is this. I am writing a semi-scholarly article for our 
> organiza=
> tion's trade journal, The Horn Call, to explore the issue. I was 
> wondering =
> if you could direct me towards any papers, articles or books which 
> examine =
> attempts to blot out vernacular usage of a particular word, and 
> whether or =
> not this is ever successful, or can be successful. Or any other 
> insights yo=
> u may have on this issue! I thank you in advance for your help, and 
> can off=
> er you free symphony tickets if you like that sort of thing!
> Kindest regards,
> Roger Kaza
> Principal Horn
> St. Louis Symphony
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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