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      • Native Language:
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      • South Korea
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      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Nov 2005
    • Posts: 631
    #1

    barring unforseen catastrophes

    In the following sentence, what does it mean by barring unforseen catastrophes

    German and Norwegian became different languages because the ancestors of the speakers of these two languages moved apart geographically and were no longer in touch and communicating with one another. In the modern world, barring unforseen catastrophes, this will not happen at least in the near future.

  1. kfredson's Avatar

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 700
    #2

    Re: barring unforseen catastrophes

    Quote Originally Posted by bosun View Post
    In the following sentence, what does it mean by barring unforseen catastrophes

    German and Norwegian became different languages because the ancestors of the speakers of these two languages moved apart geographically and were no longer in touch and communicating with one another. In the modern world, barring unforseen catastrophes, this will not happen at least in the near future.
    Good morning to you in Korea! This is a very common phrase in English, although the combination of words might seem a little strange. Let us go word by word:
    Barring here means "unless there are" (in the future)
    Unforeseen means "things which can't be predicted" and would be surprising
    Catastrophes are, as you probably know, things which are really bad!

    To put this all together we have: "unless there occur unpredictable disasters." In this case, I suppose that would mean an earthquake that split Norway in half! In other words, these days everyone is bound together that is hard to imagine a culture being split into two language groups.

    At least I think that is what the author is trying to say in this paragraph. But it is quite a mellifluous phrase, isn't it? We might say, "Barring unforeseen circumstances I shall arrive on the train to Seoul at 12:15." And that is just about the time it is where you are now, if I'm not mistaken.

    Have a lovely afternoon.

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