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    #1

    bleak

    Dear teachers,

    Would you please help me to sort out a muddle. I stumbled across the interpretation of a adjective, namely "bleak". I couldn't translate synonymously the title Dickens' novel "The Bleak House" in my native language. There are 30 different meaning in my small English-Bulgarian Dictionary only for this word. (bare, barren, cheerless, chilly, cold, colorless, murky, comfortless, depressing,desolate, discouraging, disheartening, dismal, dreary, empty, exposed, gaunt, gloomy, grim, hopeless, joyless, leaden, loveless, open,raw, sombre, unsheltered, weather-beaten, windswept, windy.

    I remember now the usage of this adjective from another great writer (Edgar Alan Po), namely "Ah, distinctly, I remember, it was in the bleak December, and each separate dying ember wrought ghost upon the floor."

    There is an affluent diversity of expressions as "prospects were bleak", "the bleak treeless regions of the high Andes", "Life in the Aran islands has always been bleak and difficult", "bleak wind from the North Atlantic."

    This is beyond my comprehension notwithstanding I am not a freshman. I know what is alliteration, assonance or internal rhyme, but I couldn't understand why I have to read the whole poem or novel in order to might know the proper meaning of a certain word.

    Thank you in advance for your appreciated help.

    V.

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    #2

    Re: bleak

    Hello Vil,

    Maybe it would help if you set it against the meanings opposite to "bleak" :

    antonyms: lush,overgrown, populated, sunny,bright, appealing

    The literal meaning of the word is used to depict a place or weather as cold, empty ,bare, without vegetation and not a pleasant sight

    "Bleak" has a figurative meaning which draws from its literal meaning and means something that is unpromising ,offering little or no hope;discouraging, black ("the future looked black"; "prospects were bleak"), depressive, melancholic, dreary, sombre ( I understand 'bleak' as all this together)

    antonyms: bright, cheery, encouraging, hopeful, sunny

    Person can be figuratively characterized as bleak ( although BNC has not record about it Google disagree with it )

    Cheers

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    #3

    Re: bleak

    Hi Velimir,

    I agree every word in your reply, especially your statement concerning the "bleak people."

    I get in difficult position at the thought of that a certain December night could be "bleak" and I wouldn't able to knowdefinitely the real brand of this night on account of too many different meaning (1 meaning "murky", or 2. meaning "cold", or 3 meaning "windy", and so on and so forth).

    You have to know that many others are not so clever and eager to learn as you. I'm sure that millions, when not more, NES don't know who is Dickens and a little more who is Wilkins Micawber. I'm burning with curiosity regarding their dexterity to use words with so different meanings.

    Thank you for the antonyms, which did a good job for me.

    Best wish.

    V.

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    #4

    Re: bleak

    Thanks Vil, real compliments for me. I enjoy reading and Dickens is one of my favourite writers, I've read many of his novels. I generaly like Victorian writers,it is not only Dickens. Along with russian literature it would be my choice for reading anytime.
    I see it as general concept of the english language to use single word many times for different use.I don't know why is that when letters could be combined in so many ways without having to economize

    Greetings

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  1. 'Bleak'??
    By A.l in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 21-Aug-2006, 19:29

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