Interested in Language
Please, help me understand the following short story. I am not really sure what's going on there:
(1) "Mamma, will you go to town?"
(2) "What do you ask for a ticket on your train?"
(3) "Oh! we will give you a ticket, mamma."
(4) "About what time will you get back?"
(5) "At half past eight."
(6) "Ah! that is after bedtime. Is this the fast train?"
(7) "Yes, this is the lightning train."
(8) "Oh! that is too fast for me."
(9) "What shall we get for you in town, mamma?"
(10) "A big basket, with two good little children in it."
(11) "All right! Time is up! Ding, ding!"
It's clearly about a dialogue between mamma and her children. There is small image depicting mamma sitting on a sofa and two girls dressed up, one actually standing up inside a big wicket basket.
So, who is going to town? mamma? the children? everyone?, what is the meaning of (2) and (3) and how would you describe the situation in general?
Just after posting this I got this idea that what's going on is that the girls are playing make-believe with mamma. Still, I can't figure out the meaning of sentence (2), is mamma pretending to be the person that checks your ticket (how do you call this person by the way?). If I am correct that means my questions above have been partially self-answered lol.
Last edited by pizza; 07-Sep-2011 at 10:47.
She is asking the price of a ticket. "What (price) do you ask for a ticket...?"
Last edited by bhaisahab; 07-Sep-2011 at 18:29. Reason: punctuation
I would guess then that it's a game of make-believe.
The children are going to town.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
Exactly, the girls are running the train, somehow, and they will let mom ride in for free. Clearly, this is a story about corruption. Just kidding.
In real life, the dialogue might be
(1) Mum/Mom/Mummy, are you going to/into town?
(2) How much is a ticket/the fare?
(3) Oh, we'll give you a ticket.
(4) About what time will you get/be back?
(5) Half past eight.
(6) Ah! that's after/past bedtime. Is this the fast train?
(7) Yes, this is the fast/express train.
(8) Oh! that's too fast for me.
(9) "What shall we get for you in town, Mum/Mom/Mummy?
(10) A big basket, with two good little children.
Thanks for the comments fivejedjon and thanks for posting your version of the story as well. These books were originally published in 1836 (geez, that's 3 decades before the civil war) and I am currently holding a revised 5th edition. Also, this story is from the first reader, specially tailored for primer readers, maybe 5 or 6 year old children. The book has archaisms but the English is correct.
I would recommend the series if you already know English. Essentially, these books are great if you are interested in deepening your understanding of the language, enriching your literary vocabulary, getting to know the myriad of archaic terms that, albeit rarely used, are still known and understood by natives and gaining insight in the cultural context in which the American English developed.
Last edited by pizza; 08-Sep-2011 at 13:25.