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    #1

    Interpretation issues

    Could you please tell me what the underlined expressions mean here? "We kept the smack in a cove about five miles higher up the coast than this; and it was our practice, in fine weather, to take advantage of the fifteen minutes' slack to push across the main channel of the Moskoe-ström, far above the pool, and then drop down upon anchorage somewhere near Otterholm, or Sandflesen, where the eddies are not so violent as elsewhere. Here we used to remain until nearly time for slack-water again, when we weighed and made for home. We never set out upon this expedition without a steady side wind for going and coming — onethat we felt sure would not fail us before our return — and we seldom made a mis-calculation upon this point. Twice, during six years, we were forced to stay all night at anchor on account of a dead calm, which is a rare thing indeed just about here; and once we had to remain on the grounds nearly a week, starving to death, owing to a gale which blew up shortly after our arrival, and made the channel too boisterous to be thought of. Upon this occasion we should have been driven out to sea in spite of everything, (for the whirlpools threw us round and round so violently, that, at length, we fouled our anchor and dragged it) if it had not been that we drifted into one of the innumerable cross currents — here to-day and gone to-morrow — which drove us under the lee of Flimen, where, by good luck, we brought up."
    Last edited by Mher; 05-May-2014 at 15:27.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Interpretation issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Mher View Post
    Could you please tell me what the underlined expressions mean here? "We kept the smack in a cove about five miles higher up the coast than this; and it was our practice, in fine weather, to take advantage of the fifteen minutes' slack to push across the main channel of the Moskoe-ström, far above the pool {far more inland than the pool. They seem to be in a fjord in Scandinavia that is subject to violent tidal currents.}, and then drop down upon anchorage somewhere near Otterholm, or Sandflesen, where the eddies are not so violent as elsewhere. Here we used to remain until nearly time for slack-water again, when we weighed and made for home. We never set out upon this expedition without a steady side wind for going and coming — one that we felt sure would not fail us before our return — and we seldom made a miscalculation upon this point. Twice, during six years, we were forced to stay all night at anchor on account of a dead calm, which is a rare thing indeed just about here; and once we had to remain on the grounds {To remain on the grounds means to stay at anchor. Therefore they must have been "somewhere near Otterholm, or Sandflesen"} nearly a week, starving to death, owing to a gale which blew up shortly after our arrival, and made the channel too boisterous to be thought of. {The water in the channel was so rough that attempting to navigate it was out of the question.} Upon this occasion we should have been driven out to sea in spite of everything, (for the whirlpools threw us round and round so violently, that, at length, we fouled our anchor and dragged it) {Our anchor became entangled with its chain. Therefore it could not reach and engage with the bottom to hold us in position, and travelled along with us as we drifted.} if it had not been that we drifted into one of the innumerable cross currents — here to-day and gone to-morrow — which drove us under the lee of Flimen, where, by good luck, we brought up."
    This language you asked about is nautical and somewhat old-fashioned. Not many people today understand it.
    Last edited by probus; 06-May-2014 at 06:00.

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    #3

    Re: Interpretation issues

    This is an excerpt from a story by Edgar Allan Poe, that is why its language is old-fashioned. The problem is that since I intend to translate the story into Armenian, I can not find the translation of the aforementioned expressions in any explanatory dictionary. So thank you very much for your meticulous interpretation.

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    #4

    Re: Interpretation issues

    One more question please. "Channel" here means a flux?

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    #5

    Re: Interpretation issues

    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  3. probus's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Interpretation issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Mher View Post
    This is an excerpt from a story by Edgar Allan Poe, that is why its language is old-fashioned. The problem is that since I intend to translate the story into Armenian, I can not find the translation of the aforementioned expressions in any explanatory dictionary. So thank you very much for your meticulous interpretation.
    Feel free to ask more, but perhaps post future threads to English Idioms and Sayings, rather than Ask a Teacher. We have previously helped a Hungarian member translate a very difficult American book into standard modern English, which he then translated into Hungarian. He has told me that he has found a publisher for his work. So bring it on. I'm looking forward to it. In fact, I can hardly wait, and good luck to you in your enterprise.
    Last edited by probus; 07-May-2014 at 04:39.

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    #7

    Re: Interpretation issues

    ' One more question please. "Channel" here means a flux?'

    Denotatively, a channel is just a narrow aquatic passage. But given the context here, channel implies very violent rapids, i.e. flux. That is what Poe meant when he said "too boisterous to be thought of".
    Last edited by probus; 07-May-2014 at 05:10.

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