Student or Learner
in the book 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' there is an adjective that I don't fully understand, Chapter 2
'Have you got a spanner?' said Winston, fiddling with the nut on the angle-joint.
'A spanner,' said Mrs Parsons, immediately becoming invertebrate. ' I don't know. Perhaps the children ---'
The dictionary tells that 'invertebrate' means an animal without a spine or bones. So the use of this word is obviously a kind of speech figure, isn't it?
The german version of the book translates it like 'antriebslos - listless', but how adequate is that?
Thanks for help
Last edited by Farbauti; 10-Aug-2014 at 12:51.
That dictionary defines the noun 'invertebrate', which is derived from the adjectival usage [=not having a backbone].
Think of the metaphor spineless.
PS It's about 50 years since I read the book, but I suspect there was a political angle to Mrs Parsons's reaction - antriebslos doesn't strike me as a very good translation.
Last edited by BobK; 10-Aug-2014 at 11:24. Reason: Added PS