Garmt, that was my original confusion. What I thought was obvioius to the
Forum was apparently not so. What I was attempting to say was that there
were two ways of translating the sentence:
"who gave it a width of a (a. thousand, b. mile) and a length of three (a.
thousands; implied, b. miles:implied). One can pick either a or b but not a
and b. Therefore the question of a width of a thousand feet and a length of
3 feet cannot arise.
You can read the sentence two ways. When a word has two meanings, there may
be a question of which is the one intended. A length of 3000 feet and a
width of 1000 feet would still be much larger than the "timid estimates of
200 feet in length". The measurement of the "Shannon" giving 650 feet is
still much less than 3000 feet, thus fitting in with the numerical
interpretation of 1000x3000 feet.
I think the question is one of culture not language. In English if one asked
"How many miles is it from New York to Chicago?", the answer could
reasonably be "About a thousand". We have no trouble understanding that the
thousand refers to miles. French being more precise might require an
explicit statement "cerque d'un mille milles" An answer of "cerque d'un
mille" in French culture is perhaps to be literally interpreted as "about a
mile", and not "about a thousand miles".
Not being an expert on French culture, I am unable to express an opinion. Is
it possible ethat Verne was being purposely vague here, offering the reader
a choice of reasonable and unreasonble interpretations?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Garmt de Vries" <G.deVries~at~phys.uu.nl>
To: "Jules Verne Forum" <jvf~at~Gilead.org.il>
Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2006 3:22 AM
Subject: Re: Cetacean a mile wide and 3 miles long
On Tue, 11 Apr 2006, rick1walter~at~comcast.net wrote:
> You finish saying: <I come to the conclusion that Verne was talking "feet"
> not "miles" in the paragraph.>
> By this logic, your cetacean is a thousand feet wide and three feet long.
> Surely not.
You could also read it as:
> rejetant les évaluations timides qui assignaient à cet objet une
> longueur de deux cents pieds et en repoussant les opinions exagérées
> qui le disaient large d'un mille et long de trois
"a length of 200 feet" ... "one thousand [feet] wide and three [thousand]
But I would say that Verne really means 1x3 miles.
Received on Fri 14 Apr 2006 - 01:43:47 IDT