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  1. Bushwhacker's Avatar
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    #1

    Cool A complex paragraph

    I'm not quite sure of understand the meaning of what follows:



    He had been born in that sprawling, indefensible mansion of orchards and gardens and watched the city gnaw away at field after copse after bower of its grounds, filling family coffers but searing away small corners of his heart with every felling and building.



    In red the crucial parts.


    First one. a) He watched the city being slowly degraded at each one of its fields, copses and bowers?
    b) He watched the city slowly degrading each one of the fields, copses and bowers of the mansion?


    The time of this verb "gnaw away" quite disturbs me. Is it past, present, conditional? present of subjunctive?


    Second One. Be one or two, I find difficult how whatever is being degraded (copses, fields, bowers) increases the family coffers.


    Third one. What is felling here? I have no idea.



    Thank You for your help.




    Last edited by Bushwhacker; 18-Nov-2009 at 13:38.


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    #2

    Re: A complex paragraph

    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhacker View Post
    I'm not quite sure of understand the meaning of what follows:



    He had been born in that sprawling, indefensible mansion of orchards and gardens and watched the city gnaw away at field after copse after bower of its grounds, filling family coffers but searing away small corners of his heart with every felling and building.



    In red the crucial parts.


    First one. a) He watched the city being slowly degraded at each one of its fields, copses and bowers?
    b) He watched the city slowly degrading each one of the fields, copses and bowers of the mansion?
    Metaphrically the city as it grows eats the countryside, just as it happens today.


    The time of this verb "gnaw away" quite disturbs me. Is it past, present, conditional? present of subjunctive?


    Second One. Be one or two, I find difficult how whatever is being degrading (copses, fields, bowers) increases the family coffers.

    The land is being sold to developers for building.


    Third one. What is felling here? I have no idea. #

    When you cut down a tree, you fell the tree. So each tree that is cut down is affecting this person sadly.



    Thank You for your help.




    ..

  2. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: A complex paragraph

    Hi,
    First one: he watched the city expand slowly at the expense of the fields, copses and bowers (gnaw away literally means 'bite and tear with the help of one's teeth' - "rosegar" in Catalan)
    The tense of gnaw away is Simple Present (in Catalan you would use an infinitive, try translating hte passage).

    Second one: It means that the families were probably receiving money for their lands or possessions, money they put away in their strongbox (=coffer) ("caixa forta") or elsewhere.

    Third one: to fell means to cause somthing to fall bi hitting or striking it, like a tree ("talar" in Catalan).

  3. Bushwhacker's Avatar
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    #4

    Cool Re: A complex paragraph

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedeut View Post
    Hi,
    First one: he watched the city expand slowly at the expense of the fields, copses and bowers (gnaw away literally means 'bite and tear with the help of one's teeth' - "rosegar" in Catalan)
    The tense of gnaw away is Simple Present (in Catalan you would use an infinitive, try translating hte passage).

    Second one: It means that the families were probably receiving money for their lands or possessions, money they put away in their strongbox (=coffer) ("caixa forta") or elsewhere.

    Third one: to fell means to cause somthing to fall bi hitting or striking it, like a tree ("talar" in Catalan).
    Quite a good explanation, Thank You. But let me ask you for the tense. If simple present, wouldn't it have to be with an added "s": gnaws away"?

    Thanks
    Last edited by Bushwhacker; 18-Nov-2009 at 15:02.

  4. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: A complex paragraph

    Not if it's "watching them gnaw" (an infinitive).

  5. Bushwhacker's Avatar
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    #6

    Cool Re: A complex paragraph

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Not if it's "watching them gnaw" (an infinitive).
    Thanks. The city as "them" Singular word meaning "people" Isn't it?

  6. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: A complex paragraph

    You got it. Moltes felicitats.

  7. Bushwhacker's Avatar
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    #8

    Cool Re: A complex paragraph

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    You got it. Moltes felicitats.
    Do you know Catalan?

  8. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: A complex paragraph

    I can only read it, and when in Barcelona, I can use it a bit. But sometimes it comes out of my mouth in Portuguese or Castillian, or French.

  9. Bushwhacker's Avatar
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    #10

    Cool Re: A complex paragraph

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    I can only read it, and when in Barcelona, I can use it a bit. But sometimes it comes out of my mouth in Portuguese or Castillian, or French.
    Quite good. Nice to meet you. Regards.

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