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    #1

    Meaning of a sentence

    I came across the following simple sentence that made me really doubt my English.

    "Rundown merchant houses the color of a worn, faded shift silently formed a row of eaves."

    This is a sentence from an English translation of a japanese short story collection by Edogawa Rampo.

    Here is what I can make of it.


    "houses that belong to merchants and that are broken whose color is the color of a worn faded underwear, formed a row of eaves."

    I assume here that eves are similar to what you stand below when you wait for a bus.

    Am I thinking in the right direction?

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Meaning of a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by karitaru View Post
    I came across the following simple sentence that made me really doubt my English.

    "Rundown merchant houses the color of a worn, faded shift silently formed a row of eaves."

    This is a sentence from an English translation of a japanese short story collection by Edogawa Rampo.

    Here is what I can make of it.


    "houses that belong to merchants and that are broken whose color is the color of a worn faded underwear, formed a row of eaves."

    I assume here that eves are similar to what you stand below when you wait for a bus.

    Am I thinking in the right direction?
    It's a very poor translation, it's hard to understand what it is supposed to mean.

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    #3

    Re: Meaning of a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    It's a very poor translation, it's hard to understand what it is supposed to mean.
    Other than that, would you say my reasoning is alright?
    I mean the usage of shift! Why would he use such a vague word, if he wanted an underwear or any other kind of clothing.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Meaning of a sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by karitaru View Post
    Other than that, would you say my reasoning is alright?
    I mean the usage of shift! Why would he use such a vague word, if he wanted an underwear or any other kind of clothing.
    The "eaves" are the overhanging part of a roof, the part the stands out from the top of the wall.

  3. Johnson_F's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Meaning of a sentence

    Other than that, would you say my reasoning is alright?
    I mean the usage of shift! Why would he use such a vague word, if he wanted an underwear or any other kind of clothing.
    Bhaisahab said it: "It's a very poor translation".
    One could argue back and forth for a long time about individual words, but there is no point
    .

    If we wish to discuss this seriously, then we need to know the original. Those of us who understand the original can then discuss the translation.

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    #6

    Re: Meaning of a sentence

    Yes and no- if the translated version is garbled, it's a poor translation, unless the original is garbled, though in this case it might be advisable to say so.

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    #7

    Re: Meaning of a sentence

    Thank you for the answers
    Unfortunately I don't have the original Japanese version.
    I think I'll go with what I have.


    The name of the book, by the way, is the Edogawa Rampo Reader, and the story is "The daydream."

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