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    #1

    come down/go up

    Would anyone please paraphrase the following in bold in easy English?

    As a general rule, I board an airplane from two to ten times each week. Obviously, I know that from time to time there are airplane crashes, so I recognize there is danger for me when I get aboard that aircraft. But realistically there is even more danger for the airplane, because when airplanes come down faster than they go up, their trade-in value drops to virtually nothing. I mean, you just can't swap them at all.

    In the above, does "come down" mean "land," and does "go up" mean "take off"? If so, I don't understand what it is saying. And what is "trade-in value" there?

    Thank you.


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    #2

    Re: come down/go up

    He is being humourous. By 'coming down faster than they go up', he means 'crashing'! And compared to his (the writer's) mangled body, pity the poor airline: the mangled body of what's left of their multi-million dollar plane is now next to nothing.
    (Old planes are sold off to smaller airlines, not traded-in, but he is being humourous and treating the situation akin to trading in an old car. Usually, the car is in some working order - we don't walk into a car dealership with a bumper bar and steering wheel tucked under our arm and talk about a trade-in on a new car! He gives us the humourous image of the airline asking Boeing for a trade-in quote on the bits and pieces of the plane now scattered over the countryside.

    In effect, it is a humourous attempt at minimizing personal anxiety and 'fear of flying'. He is saying that any anxiety a passenger might have is small - just the loss of their life - compared to how many millions the poor airline will lose if it loses its plane!
    Last edited by David L.; 09-Oct-2008 at 17:58.

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    #3

    Re: come down/go up

    I see. Thank you.

    Humor English almost always kills me.
    The more interesting English is, the more troubled I get.


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    #4

    Re: come down/go up

    What is the Korean sense of humour? What do Korean's see as funny? Could you tell us a Korean joke?

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    #5

    Re: come down/go up

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    What is the Korean sense of humour? What do Korean's see as funny? Could you tell us a Korean joke?
    It's a very difficult question for me to answer. In most cases, I think humour---whether it's British homour, or Korean Homour, or African homour--- can make people laugh if it is correctly understood. That is, in my opinion humour is universal. One of the reasons we sometimes have trouble understanding humour of other countries/cultures is, in my opinion, that the way of expressing it, not the content of humour itself, is different. For example, in the quoted sentence "when airplanes come down faster than they go up, their trade-in value drops to virtually nothing," if the writer had said "when airplanes crash, their trade-in value drops to virtually nothing," it would have been easier for me to understand, though it might have been less funny for you. Once we correctly understand the intent and content of humour, I think it can make people laugh regardless of its origin.

    Korean joke? Although I don't remember many of them, of course we have a lot of jokes. But I can't define what it is that distinguishes Korean humour from others, and I doubt if any humour can be said to be uniquely Korean. Anyway I'm sure our jokes would make you laugh only if it is well understood despite the cultural differences. The problem is that my English is not good enough to translate it into English. I'm afraid my poor English would make you confused rather than laugh.


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    #6

    Re: come down/go up

    though it might have been less funny for you.

    That's it. You have hit the nail on the head.
    It is the choice of words, the less obvious, that adds to the humour. To say 'crash' evokes(=bring or recall to the conscious mind) images of planes actually crashing and people dying, whereas 'come down faster than they go up' avoids this.

    I see your point very clearly. It is the subtlety, that often only a native speaker and near-to grasp, that is such a large part of what is 'funny'...or in bad taste.

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