Jules Verne Forum



Re: Cetacean a mile wide and 3 miles long

From: Arthur B. Evans <aevans2~at~tds.net>
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2006 19:16:06 -0400
To: "Jules Verne Forum" <jvf~at~Gilead.org.il>

The question is indeed one of language. Rick, Bill, and the others are
correct. There is no ambiguity. This phrase can NOT be read in two ways.
In French, "mille" means "a thousand" (**and it NEVER takes an article**),
and "un mille" means "a (nautical) mile" (it NEVER means "a thousand").

----- Original Message -----
From: "Norm Wolcott" <nwolcott2ster~at~gmail.com>
To: "Jules Verne Forum" <jvf~at~Gilead.org.il>
Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2006 6:36 PM
Subject: Re: Cetacean a mile wide and 3 miles long

> 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?
> nwolcott2~at~post.harvard.edu
> ----- 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:
>> Norm--
>> 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]
> long"
> But I would say that Verne really means 1x3 miles.
> Garmt.
Received on Fri 14 Apr 2006 - 02:16:26 IDT

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