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    #1

    impass/cukdesac/deadlock

    Dear teachers,

    Recently I glanced through an article in The New York Times. Unfortunately I became again aware of frustration right in the beginning by translating of the title "Pakistani leader blocks protests, creating impasse". The uncertainty and doubt made my flesh crawl. I know that the word impasse have three different meanings:
    1. road or passage having no exit
    2. a situation that is so difficult that no progress can be made
    3. deadlock (standstill, stagnation, low tide, tie-up)

    Could you please tell me which of these meanings might I use in my translation?

    I read further in the very essence of the article the following excerpt:"In Islamabad, the capital, Ms. Bhutto was surrounded by three layers of police lines, barbed wire and concrete barriers, and an armored personnel carrier blocked the entrance to her house at the end of a three-lined culdesac.

    I saw then the usage of a new word "culdesac" (French origin) with a meaning close to the of the word "impass". I wander that the columnist haven't used the word "sokak" (Turkish origin), or "sack gasse" (German origin). Fortunately I could understand the proper meaning of the word synonymously from the context, namely in this case was speaking of "a dead end street."

    Wait a minute please! Don't give a sign of relieve! There was a new challenge. In another excerpt I read the following sentence:

    "By the end of the day, chaotic as it was, the standoff allowed both the Bhutto and General Musharraf a face-saving way, whether impromptu or choreographed, to avoid potentially bloogy clashes on the streets."

    I saw another word, namely "standoff" which have the same meaning as the
    word "impasse" and "culdesac", and "deadlock"( a tie or draw, a situation in which one force neutralizes or counterbalances the other = a standstill resulting from the opposition of two unrelenting forces or faction.)

    I understand the gist of what was said, I understand and the lights and shades of the written, but I think that this words' polysemy is really a knotty problem for the unnatural English speakers. Or what's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong.

    Thank you in advance for your efforts.

    V.


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    #2

    Re: impass/cukdesac/deadlock

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Recently I glanced through an article in The New York Times. Unfortunately I became again aware of frustration right in the beginning by translating of the title "Pakistani leader blocks protests, creating impasse". The uncertainty and doubt made my flesh crawl. I know that the word impasse have three different meanings:
    1. road or passage having no exit
    2. a situation that is so difficult that no progress can be made [In this context, this is the nearest, though #3 is also applicable]
    3. deadlock (standstill, stagnation, low tide, tie-up)

    Could you please tell me which of these meanings might I use in my translation?

    I read further in the very essence of the article the following excerpt:"In Islamabad, the capital, Ms. Bhutto was surrounded by three layers of police lines, barbed wire and concrete barriers, and an armored personnel carrier blocked the entrance to her house at the end of a three-lined cul de sac.

    I saw then the usage of a new word "cul de sac" (French origin) with a meaning close to the of the word "impass". I wander that the columnist haven't used the word "sokak" (Turkish origin), or "sack gasse" (German origin). Fortunately I could understand the proper meaning of the word synonymously from the context, namely in this case was speaking of "a dead end street."

    Wait a minute please! Don't give a sign of relieve! There was a new challenge. In another excerpt I read the following sentence:

    "By the end of the day, chaotic as it was, the stand off allowed both Bhutto and General Musharraf a face-saving way, whether impromptu or choreographed, to avoid potentially bloody clashes on the streets."

    I saw another word, namely "stand off" which have the same meaning as the word "impasse" and "cul de sac", and "deadlock"( a tie or draw, a situation in which one force neutralizes or counterbalances the other = a standstill resulting from the opposition of two unrelenting forces or faction.)

    I understand the gist of what was said, I understand and the lights and shades of the written, but I think that this words' polysemy is really a knotty problem for the unnatural English speakers. Or what's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong.

    Thank you in advance for your efforts.

    V.
    "stand off" - two people of approximately equal power face up to each other and neither gives way. "Deadlock" and "impasse" are synonymous with it.

    "cul de sac" - only used to refer to a street which is a dead end [is not open at both ends]


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    #3

    Re: impass/cukdesac/deadlock

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Recently I glanced through an article in The New York Times. Unfortunately I became again aware of frustration right in the beginning by translating of the title "Pakistani leader blocks protests, creating impasse". The uncertainty and doubt made my flesh crawl. I know that the word impasse have three different meanings:
    1. road or passage having no exit
    2. a situation that is so difficult that no progress can be made
    3. deadlock (standstill, stagnation, low tide, tie-up)

    Could you please tell me which of these meanings might I use in my translation?

    I read further in the very essence of the article the following excerpt:"In Islamabad, the capital, Ms. Bhutto was surrounded by three layers of police lines, barbed wire and concrete barriers, and an armored personnel carrier blocked the entrance to her house at the end of a three-lined culdesac.

    I saw then the usage of a new word "culdesac" (French origin) with a meaning close to the of the word "impass". I wander that the columnist haven't used the word "sokak" (Turkish origin), or "sack gasse" (German origin). Fortunately I could understand the proper meaning of the word synonymously from the context, namely in this case was speaking of "a dead end street."

    Wait a minute please! Don't give a sign of relieve! There was a new challenge. In another excerpt I read the following sentence:

    "By the end of the day, chaotic as it was, the standoff allowed both the Bhutto and General Musharraf a face-saving way, whether impromptu or choreographed, to avoid potentially bloogy clashes on the streets."

    I saw another word, namely "standoff" which have the same meaning as the
    word "impasse" and "culdesac", and "deadlock"( a tie or draw, a situation in which one force neutralizes or counterbalances the other = a standstill resulting from the opposition of two unrelenting forces or faction.)

    I understand the gist of what was said, I understand and the lights and shades of the written, but I think that this words' polysemy (a $5 word not found in most dictionaries)is really a knotty problem for the unnatural English speakers. Or what's right is right, and what's wrong is wrong.

    Thank you in advance for your efforts.

    V.
    Wow! I have been accused of wordy answers but this question made me read it 3 times before I figured out what you wanted to know.

    I think you want to discuss the meaning of impasse and compare it to other synonyms.

    "Pakistani leader blocks protests, creating impasse."

    In this context both of these suggestions for meaning apply.

    2. a situation that is so difficult that no progress can be made
    3. deadlock (standstill, stagnation, low tide, tie-up)

    For reasons unknown to us in the west (who knows the real reasons for this mess in the Middle East! {sigh})
    Bhutto and General Musharraf are having a major confrontation. By shutting down democracy and preventing dialog between these two leaders an impasse has been created where nothing can be accomplished or settled.

    The first answer doesn't apply because we are not talking about a simple road which is damaged and cannot be passed.

    "....and an armored personnel carrier blocked the entrance to her house at the end of a tree-lined cul de sac."

    Yes, "cul de sac" can mean "impasse" in the all meanings as you showed above. It is a French word which in Canadian English has been adopted and I believe it to be also in American and British English as well.

    The word in French means "blind alley" or "dead end". It usually refers to a street that has an entrance but no exit. Often you are not aware that you are entering such a street and you are frustrated when the street reveals itself as a dead end. You must turn around and go back the way that you came.

    English adopts this French meaning, but in typical English language development adds another meaning to cul de sac. Often when trying to solve a problem, we try a solution only to find out that the potential solution hits a dead end and it is futile to continue. So in English we refer to such a situation as a cul de sac as well.

    The difference between
    "cul de sac" and "impasse" is that an impasse usually involves 2 people/groups who will not change their opinions. A cul de sac situation usually involves one person/group who sees the situation as useless and they retreat from their position to find another way to solve the problem.

    Why do we use words like
    "impasse", "standoff", "deadlock" which have similar meanings in a piece of writing? (cul de sac does not count here since its meaning is different in this case)

    Well to write a piece with impasse.....impasse......impasse over and over again becomes boring to read, even though you wish to refer to this situation over and over agian. So you vary the writing using similar words such as "standoff" and "deadlock" to make the piece more interesting.

    Whew! I think I covered everything.

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    #4

    Re: impass/cukdesac/deadlock

    Hi Anglika,

    Thank you for your prompt reply.

    You have hit the pith of my bewilderment with a few concise and unambiguous words.

    As Alexander cut the Gordian knot with his sword so you managed to settle the Vilians knotty problem.

    Thank you again.

    V.

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    #5

    Re: impass/cukdesac/deadlock

    Hi Naamplao,

    Thank you for your lavish post.

    When I read your last post I felt me as the ancient Noah, who was swept over the land by the flood. Your invigorating, explanatory words, helped me to find a salutary road through the surrounding all of us wicked words' polysemy. Your knowledgeable explanatory note helped me to gain the safe shore.[the synonymously and proper interpreting ("make sense of a language") of every words, that were problematic for me in this case ].

    I have kept a close watch on your post. I have read narrowly every paragraph, every sentence and every separate word. I agree with all your explanations and assertions. I have no objection and take your words as gospel truth.

    Excuse me, but I would afford myself the pleasure of quoting a few meanings of the notorious word "polysemy".

    1. a linguistic term for a word, capacity to carry two or more distinct meanings e.g. "grave": ""serious", or "tomb".

    2. the association of an word with a number of meaning. If these meanings are quite distinct the words are homonyms, but frequently there is a range of analogical uses (plain pose, plain sailing) suggesting that it is wrong simply to distinguish distinct senses.

    3. the ambiguity of an individual word or phrase that can be used (in different context) to express two or more different meanings.

    Thank you for your perpetual willingness to render aid.

    V.


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    #6

    Re: impass/cukdesac/deadlock

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Excuse me, but I would afford myself the pleasure of quoting a few meanings of the notorious word "polysemy".

    1. a linguistic term for a word, capacity to carry two or more distinct meanings e.g. "grave": ""serious", or "tomb".

    2. the association of an word with a number of meaning. If these meanings are quite distinct the words are homonyms, but frequently there is a range of analogical uses (plain pose, plain sailing) suggesting that it is wrong simply to distinguish distinct senses.

    3. the ambiguity of an individual word or phrase that can be used (in different context) to express two or more different meanings.

    Thank you for your perpetual willingness to render aid.

    V.
    You are welcome. Thank you for the definition of polysemy.

    It shows up on my computer spell-check as a non-word and my Oxford Dictionary of Current English did not have an entry for this word either.

    I doubt that I would ever use this word in my written or spoken language though as I venture that 99.99% of native English speakers would know the meaning. But you have made me aware of it and I won't have to look it up in a dictionary again.

    I am glad the rest of the post was useful.

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