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Thread: Geographical names as appositives

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    Geographical names as appositives

    An English text I am reviewing says "The Belaya mountain river has become... (blah-blah-blah)". The problem is, it is the river that is called Belaya and not the mountain. I want to change it to "The mountain river Belaya has become...", placing Belaya in aposition with "The mountain river". I am sure that is a good solution, but I can't seem to find a rule that would explain use of geographical names as appositives, and I may need to quote such a rule to explain the change to a co-worker. Can anyone point me to an online grammar guide or something?

    Update: In the same text, still speaking about the Belaya river: "Its loud-pouring flood and ice-cold water."
    Two questions to native-speakers:
    1) Doesn't a quote from Burns sound a little odd in this context?
    2) I understand "loud-pouring floods" in "My Heart's In The Highlands" as "loud-flowing streams". In other words, "flood" here is a synonym of "river", so "Its (the river's) loud-pouring flood" sounds redudundant to me. No?

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    Re: Geographical names as appositives

    Quote Originally Posted by translationsnmru
    An English text I am reviewing says "The Belaya mountain river has become... (blah-blah-blah)". The problem is, it is the river that is called Belaya and not the mountain. I want to change it to "The mountain river Belaya has become...", placing Belaya in aposition with "The mountain river". I am sure that is a good solution, but I can't seem to find a rule that would explain use of geographical names as appositives, and I may need to quote such a rule to explain the change to a co-worker. Can anyone point me to an online grammar guide or something?
    I can't point you at a guide or even explain the rules particularly well, but in my opinion "the Belaya mountain river" is no worse, and possibly even a little better than "the mountain river Belaya", but in all honesty neither of them are particularly good.

    The first sentence isn't as ambiguous as you might think, since the lack of capitalisation of "mountain" makes it clear that "Belaya" refers to the river. Still, it does make "mountain river" sound like a specific distinct category of river rather than a river that happens to flow through mountains, if you see what I mean.

    The problem with the second sentence is that in English names of rivers always take a definite article, but the structure of both of that sentence doesn't really suit inserting another one. It reads as awkwardly as the original though.

    Perhaps "The/ A mountain river, The Belaya, has become..." would be better, but I think I'd prefer something like "The Belaya is a mountain river that has become..."

    Update: In the same text, still speaking about the Belaya river: "Its loud-pouring flood and ice-cold water."
    Two questions to native-speakers:
    1) Doesn't a quote from Burns sound a little odd in this context?
    2) I understand "loud-pouring floods" in "My Heart's In The Highlands" as "loud-flowing streams". In other words, "flood" here is a synonym of "river", so "Its (the river's) loud-pouring flood" sounds redudundant to me. No?
    Yes and no.

    Yes in the sense that you understand the Burns quote correctly, but no in the sense that the sentence still works anyway. "It's loud-pooring flood" just reads here as an evocative description of the sound the river makes.

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    Re: Geographical names as appositives

    Okay, thank you

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    Re: Geographical names as appositives

    Technically, you could call something a "mountain river" but I don't think you're going to find that usage very common because it is so vague and rarely do people characterize rivers based upon their surrounding topography. Like saying, "the plains river Platte..." would sound odd. Better to say "the Belaya river, located in the ... mountains."

    Two questions to native-speakers:
    1) Doesn't a quote from Burns sound a little odd in this context?
    2) I understand "loud-pouring floods" in "My Heart's In The Highlands" as "loud-flowing streams". In other words, "flood" here is a synonym of "river", so "Its (the river's) loud-pouring flood" sounds redudundant to me. No?

    1. I would have to see the entire text, but if the Belaya can be characterized as a loud-pouring flood with ice cold water, I don't see any problem. The question is more of style, does the piece lend itself to a poetic reference or not? If you're writing an encyclopedia entry it wouldn't but if you're writing a travel piece it could.

    2. I think "loud-pouring flood" here is more to convey a strong image of water forcefully coursing over land.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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