Stahlke, Herbert F.W.
hstahlke at bsu.edu
Mon Aug 30 15:18:56 UTC 2004
I'm not sure that "the Christ" fits in with the other examples. The
article is used there to make a particular theological point, in part,
that "Christ" is not a name but a title, although there's more to it.
In a message dated 8/29/04 4:50:52 PM, jrubba at calpoly.edu writes:
<< Southern Californians are known for their use of "the" in front of
freeway numbers: the 5, the 405, the 101, etc. I think this is mostly a
Southern Cal. usage; heard less often in the northern half of the state.
The use of "the" before proper names is something I heard in the midwest
years ago and it showed up in for example Al Franken's impression of the
rabbi giving his ecumenical approval to songs about "the Santa Claus".
David Letterman often drifted into it when he was getting colloquial
("How many of
you have tried the Popeye's string beans, huh?"). I always took it as
somehow from the German usage.
The usage makes an unusual appearance in a current Burger King
where a motivational-type spokesperson with a British accent says "the
King" in referring to the chain -- probably the first time that has
happened in a
national fast food commercial. I heard it also in the sports nicknaming
youth jargon of the 80's ("the Stevester").
It strikes me that it made a startling appearance in the title of Mel
Gibson's movie -- "The Passion of the Christ." In all of these cases,
function appears to be is to take a proper name and elevate it to a
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