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  1. #1
    szaroczek is offline Junior Member
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    Default "What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text"

    Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self-Reliance":

    "And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not pinched in a corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but redeemers and benefactors, pious aspirants to be noble clay plastic under the Almighty effort, let us advance and advance on Chaos and the Dark. What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text in the face and behavior of children, babes and even brutes."...

    Longer excerpt but in order to bring more of the context. Now, what's going on in the bold-faced fragment...? I believe I understand the meanings of all the words (unless I'm wrong about it ) and it looks to me like there are two subjects: 1. "oracles" (in plural) and 2. "nature" (in singular). It also seems that the second one counts because the verb - yields - comes with "-s" (3rd person sing.). If so, what that "oracles" does there, and then what that whole sentence would precisely mean, if said in other words?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text"

    Quote Originally Posted by szaroczek View Post

    Longer excerpt but in order to bring more of the context.
    Hi, szaroczek.

    There really isn't any need for excusing yourself when you provide context. Actually, more context should make the excerpt clearer, at least to me.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text"

    The subject is 'nature', and the object is 'oracles'.

    It's still possible to use this word order today:

    What big teeth you have, Grandma.
    What a pretty dress she is wearing.

  4. #4
    szaroczek is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: "What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text"

    I'm giving up, now! It's so simple and obvious now!!! Why haven't I seen it before? Maybe due to a few hours of constant reading in foreign language... I find it making me worse than better... Great thanks.

  5. #5
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text"

    Quote Originally Posted by szaroczek View Post
    I'm giving up, now! It's so simple and obvious now!!! Why haven't I seen it before? Maybe due to a few hours of constant reading in foreign language... I find it making me worse than better... Great thanks.
    Well, the sentence "What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text in the face and behavior of children, babes and even brutes" is not an easy one to understand, even for a native speaker.

  6. #6
    szaroczek is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: "What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text"

    You know, in fact I don't even find it difficult right now; after all we (Poles) do use actually quite the same grammatical structure in similar cases. So it was just that I somehow got totally blind on it! Or maybe have never seen the light before, there... I noticed similar phenomena happened to me occasionally and it made me feel pretty embarrassed in the face of the whole forum to ask so stupid question but then I found it probably be a part of the learning process... You just need sort of "enlightenment" sometime and then you go on until... next time you go again completely numb in a simple case.

  7. #7
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: "What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text"

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Well, the sentence "What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text in the face and behavior of children, babes and even brutes" is not an easy one to understand, even for a native speaker.
    Indeed no. I'm not sure of the value of studying this text. Many of the words will yield only to the most specialist dictionaries (for example 'plastic'), and the rewards of studying such a text (as a student of EFL) range between despair, frustration and misapprehension - 'pious aspirants to be noble clay plastic under the Almighty effort' - sheesh!


    b

  8. #8
    szaroczek is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: "What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text"

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Many of the words will yield only to the most specialist dictionaries (for example 'plastic'), 'pious aspirants to be noble clay plastic under the Almighty effort' - sheesh!


    b
    In what meaning did you use this verb "yield" in this sentence, anyway? My options of meaning of it don't seem to cover it ("give"; "transfer", "submit", "give way", "give up"...).

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text"

    I'd interpret is as surrender- little dictionaries won't break them down and force them to give their meaning- only a big or specialist dictionary is strong enough to do that.

  10. #10
    szaroczek is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: "What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text"

    Ok. ... Not an easy sequence to follow to me... But thanks anyway.

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