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    #1

    The motor

    For a number of years Vienna has scored top marks in international surveys for safety, cleanliness and public services, but while many Viennese are fiercely proud of their city, there is also an unexpectedly strong tradition of discontent and complaint.
    The Volksgarten in central Vienna is a particularly beautiful spot.


    There had been a storm the night before and the grass was scattered with rose petals, although most of the flowers had survived well.

    But one of the ladies shook her head dismally.
    "Look," she said in strong Viennese dialect, "Alles schon vorbei." "It is all over now."
    Her companion sighed. "Ja, ja, leider." "Unfortunately."
    The Viennese tendency not to look on the bright side of life still catches me by surprise.
    Perhaps it is a sign that I am still a foreigner - even after living here for more than 10 years.
    To be discontented is, of course, human - the motor, some would say, of progress.

    But in Vienna, many people seem to cultivate and even wallow in their dissatisfaction.
    They have a special word for it, "raunzen" - which roughly translates as to grumble, moan or whinge.



    What is the meaning of the following sentence?
    To be discontented is, of course, human - the motor, some would say, of progress.

    What is the meaning of the motor. My car has a motor and even your car has a motor.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The motor

    Quote Originally Posted by Tina3 View Post
    What is the meaning of the following sentence?
    To be discontented is, of course, human - the motor, some would say, of progress.
    The motor is the thing that drives something. So, here, to be discontented is what drives human progress.

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    #3

    Re: The motor

    Thank you for the reply.
    Do you write this way when you write English?

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: The motor

    Quote Originally Posted by Tina3 View Post
    Thank you for the reply.
    Do you write this way when you write English?
    What way are you referring to?

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    #5

    Re: The motor

    For me the motor drives a car. It can be any other device like a water pump.
    Here it is human discontent. I feel it is strange to use the words 'the motor'.
    I don't know very much about these things.

  6. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: The motor

    Quote Originally Posted by Tina3 View Post
    For me the motor drives a car. It can be any other device like a water pump.
    Here it is human discontent. I feel it is strange to use the words 'the motor'.
    I don't know very much about these things.
    Look at definition #4 here.

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    #7

    Re: The motor

    Figurative use of words is common in English.

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