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    #1

    Understanding a paragraph

    Hi! I'm reading the book "Why nations fail" of Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
    I found out there are lots of phrases, structures, grammar that are quite beyond my English ability. I'm gonna quote some paragraphs from the book, which I, with the help of the dictionary, couldn't understand.
    "When Cortes and his men arrived at the great Aztec capital of Tenochititlan on November 8, 1519, they were welcomed by Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, who had decided, in the face of much advice from his counselors, to welcome the Spaniards peacefully."
    I tried looking up "in the face" in Oxford and got 2 different explanations:
    -dispite problems, difficulties, etc
    -as a result of sth
    I don't know which of the 2 explanations best fits in the context since they all seem to correspond with the sentence
    another paragraph
    "And when it dawned thereupon were proclaimed all the things which [the Spaniards] required: white tortillas, roasted turkey hens, eggs, fresh water, wood, firewood, charcoal"
    I just simply don't understand the bold part, the structure.
    I tried using Google Translate, however, it didn't do me any good.
    Thank you
    triet96
    PS: I hope the fact that I'm quoting these paragraphs from a book doesn't upset the very respective authors of the book, as well as not violating the "terms of use" of this website

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    #2

    Re: Understanding a paragraph

    I don't think the writing is very good here. Usually we do things "in the face of adversity" or similarly overcome some problems. I would expect "in the face of much resistance from his counselors" here. I'm assuming that is what was meant, that he did not follow their advice.

    As for the second sentence, it might help us to know what was dawned. Context from before this sentence, that is.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Understanding a paragraph

    I have a feeling the second one might simply mean "When dawn came, all those things were there".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: Understanding a paragraph

    Quote Originally Posted by triet96 View Post
    Hi! I'm reading the book "Why nations fail" of Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
    I found out there are lots of phrases, structures, grammar that are quite beyond my English ability. I'm gonna quote some paragraphs from the book, which I, with the help of the dictionary, couldn't understand.
    "When Cortes and his men arrived at the great Aztec capital of Tenochititlan on November 8, 1519, they were welcomed by Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, who had decided, in the face of much advice from his counselors, to welcome the Spaniards peacefully."
    I tried looking up "in the face" in Oxford and got 2 different explanations:
    -dispite problems, difficulties, etc
    -as a result of sth
    I don't know which of the 2 explanations best fits in the context since they all seem to correspond with the sentence
    another paragraph
    "And when it dawned thereupon were proclaimed all the things which [the Spaniards] required: white tortillas, roasted turkey hens, eggs, fresh water, wood, firewood, charcoal"
    I just simply don't understand the bold part, the structure.
    I tried using Google Translate, however, it didn't do me any good.
    Thank you
    triet96
    This is a very poor translation of some commentaries written in the 16th Century by a Spaniard. Given that this was translated in the 16th Century by an English speaker, you should anticipate that the writing would not be as clear as it would have been in the original Spanish. After reading the part before this section ("when it dawned..."), it appears that the reference is to the morning. The key word here is "proclaimed". In modern usage "proclaimed" means that something is said. From at least the 14th Century, "proclaim" has meant to cry out or to make a thing public ("The captain proclaimed that the city had been taken by his troops"). I assume that the translator used "proclaimed" in the sense of something being done. The word could have been used in that sense in the past but I can find little evidence to support this meaning.
    PS: I hope the fact that I'm quoting these paragraphs from a book doesn't upset the very respective authors of the book, as well as not violating the "terms of use" of this website
    Gil

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    #5

    Re: Understanding a paragraph

    Thank you SoothingDave.
    I think you're right. I myself also thought that the phrase "in the face" here should mean despite sth, which means Montezuma, despite his counselors' advices, welcomed the Spaniard peacefully.
    For the second one, I've got no clue, however, I think I will understand it the way emsr2d2 suggested.
    Thank you

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