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    • Join Date: Feb 2010
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    Interpretation of a sentence

    Dear teachers,

    I'm not sure of having well understood a couple of expressions in the following sentence, taken from a scientific article. Could you please tell me if my interpretation, between [], is right?

    Thank you in advance and nice evening to all of you.

    "How can the world shift beneath our feet? All we know
    is founded on its rhythms: Water will flow from the snowcapped
    mountains, rain and sun will arrive in their proper
    seasons. Humans first formed our tongues around language [=the first expressed themselves in a language?],
    surely, for the purpose of explaining these constants to our
    children. What should we tell them now? That “reliable” [=the word 'reliable'?]has
    been rained out [=temporarily suspended due to bad weather?], or died of thirst? When the Earth seems to
    raise its own voice to the pitch of a gale, have we the ears to

  1. rlfwood's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jan 2010
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    Re: Interpretation of a sentence

    Your interpretations are basically correct, with "reliable" meaning "dependable, trustworthy".

    The sense of the piece is that the world has been reliable, in the sense that water always flows down from the mountains, and the rainy weather and sunny weather appear when we expect them to. In the past, this regularity was (according to the author) the reason that language was created, in order to explain these reliable events to our children. But now, this reliability is being questioned, or is becoming uncertain. Something is changing.

    It sounds like something one might expect to find in a rather melodramatic piece on "climate change".

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