(The) Notre Dame

Discussion in 'English Only' started by gvozd, May 8, 2012.

  1. gvozd Senior Member

  2. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    English English
    Hull Gvozd. Rather than making us read through a lot of text, please give us a couple of actual instances of where the definite article is used. Thanks.
  3. gvozd Senior Member

    Source: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/france/paris-notre-dame-cathedral

    The Notre Dame de Paris stands on the site of Paris' first Christian church, Saint Etienne basilica, which was itself built on the site of a Roman temple to Jupiter.

    The Notre Dame is the most popular monument in Paris and in all of France, beating even the Eiffel Tower with 13 million visitors each year.
  4. scrotgrot Senior Member

    English - English
    In French, notre is a determiner, like the. Therefore in French it would be incorrect to say la Notre Dame. However, many English people will not be sensitive to the fact that the French means Our Lady, they just analyse it as an arbitrary name. Therefore the English are apt to say the Notre Dame. We usually do not say Notre Dame de Paris, as the French do; I would expect not to hear an article there, as using de Paris implies a high level of familiarity with the French language, so you would expect the writer to know notre is a determiner already.

    The issue is further confused by whether you're saying Notre Dame Cathedral, following the article-less Gloucester Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Mount Everest, Watling Street (places named after localities or people) or merely the Notre Dame, following the Strand, the Embankment, the West Country (places whose names stand on their own).
  5. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    English English
    I would've used Ø-article in both those.
    As Scrotgrot suggests, the author seems a little uncertain about just what the cathedral's name is ... in English or French:(
  6. stormwreath Senior Member

    English - England
    I'm not sure if there's a fixed rule about using 'the' in front of names, because I can think of several exceptions to any general principle - for example, it's 'the Eiffel Tower' but 'Blackpool Tower'. However, my advice would be:

    Proper names do not normally take 'the' in front of them. (There are exceptions.) Notre Dame, Buckingham Palace
    Common nouns, on the other hand, do. The cathedral, the palace.
    A compound of a common noun and a proper noun does take 'the': The cathedral of Notre Dame, the Palace of Westminster.

    In other words, 'the Notre Dame de Paris' sound wrong to me. 'The cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris' is acceptable, though long-winded; 'the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral' is also correct, but clumsy; 'Notre Dame de Paris' is how I'd say it.
  7. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    As far as I am aware, nobody has said the Notre Dame since Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame was first translated into English. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunchback_of_Notre-Dame

    This is in keeping with the principle that churches named after saints do not normally use articles. On Sunday we're going to St Paul's / St Peter's ...
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  8. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I must confess that I do hear the Notre Dame a fair bit. Perhaps it's considered the 'Frenchy' thing to do, based on the pattern of the Louvre and the Sorbonne?
  9. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I don't think I've ever heard "the Notre Dame", other than in contexts where "Notre Dame" was acting as a modifier (as in eg "the Notre Dame area of Paris").

    I would see "the Notre Dame" as a mistake in other contexts:(.
  10. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    And perhaps "cathedral" is understood, thus the shortening to "the Notre Dame."

    In Chicago, if you just say "the John Hancock," everyone will know that you're referring to the John Hancock building (or John Hancock Center, its proper name).
  11. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    I think if you're going to put de Paris in the sentence, you are inviting people to follow the French example.

    I agree with those who would say either Notre Dame de Paris or The cathedral of Notre Dame.

    I may be influenced in this by the fact that I speak French, and so the Notre Dame sounds terrible, even without the de Paris.

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