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Old 01-03-2013, 03:26 PM   #91
rkomar
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"After a while, he forgot where he had buried his stash of precious gadgets, and the ereader languished in its subterranean resting place."
Here, subterranean refers to the resting place, not the ereader, and I have no quibbles with using it for that. Would you say "and the subterranean ereader languished in its resting place"?

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If I dropped it in the sea, then yes, I might call it that in some fashion. And the word would convey a lot more imagery than just "underwater."


The lawn wasn't in the middle of a snowbank, it was still a lawn--growing plants--beneath a layer of snow. I think that's significant, and, again, evocative.

ApK
It comes down to whether you think the words refer to present location as well as proper location. I'm in the camp that prefers not to dilute definitions over multiple words, since you lose information that way. But, I wouldn't go so far as to say you were wrong for doing it, just sloppy. In the wrong context, I might even think you were being pretentious.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:27 PM   #92
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I know, it was a typo. I fixed it. Geesh.
Its like your always making mistake's like that! Dont ewe know witch won too use? Such mistake's has a negative effect on I.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:09 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by rkomar View Post
Here, subterranean refers to the resting place, not the ereader, and I have no quibbles with using it for that. Would you say "and the subterranean ereader languished in its resting place"?



It comes down to whether you think the words refer to present location as well as proper location. I'm in the camp that prefers not to dilute definitions over multiple words, since you lose information that way. But, I wouldn't go so far as to say you were wrong for doing it, just sloppy. In the wrong context, I might even think you were being pretentious.
OK. I understand what you are saying now. I still disagree, but I understand.
Who says that those words are should only refer to proper location rather than present location? Just because biologists USE them that way, doesn't mean it's the only way they are supposed to be used. They took an adjective and used it as part of a proper name of a kind of climate or layer.
There is an animal called a Blue Whale. That doesn't make it sloppy call other things blue.
And why no quibble with the resting place? Not all resting places are subterranean. It could have had an arboreal resting place in a tree.

Now, if the author had referred to the lawn, with it's fleeting seasonal snowcover, as being in an subnivean climate, then I might agree that he misused the term "subnivean climate."

Last edited by ApK; 01-03-2013 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:15 PM   #94
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It could have had an arboreal resting place in a tree.
As opposed to an arboreal resting place somewhere other than a tree?
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:26 PM   #95
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As opposed to an arboreal resting place somewhere other than a tree?

Geesh, this what I get when I take your side?
I'll show you another resting place. What's the adjective meaning "where the sun don't shine?"
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:33 PM   #96
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[/QUOTE]I'll show you another resting place. What's the adjective meaning "where the sun don't shine?"[/QUOTE]
Dark?
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:37 PM   #97
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I'll show you another resting place. What's the adjective meaning "where the sun don't shine?"
Dark?
I was looking for something more evocative.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:44 PM   #98
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OK. I understand what you are saying now. I still disagree, but I understand.
Who says that those words are should only refer to proper location rather than present location? Just because biologists USE them that way, doesn't mean it's the only way they are supposed to be used. They took an adjective and used it as part of a proper name of a kind of climate or layer.
There is an animal called a Blue Whale. That doesn't make it sloppy call other things blue.
And why no quibble with the resting place? Not all resting places are subterranean. It could have had an arboreal resting place in a tree.

Now, if the author had referred to the lawn, with it's fleeting seasonal snowcover, as being in an subnivean climate, then I might agree that he misused the term "subnivean climate."
Let me give a different example. Some worms are subterranean, some aren't. They are all worms. The difference is that the first kind are usually found in the ground, and the others aren't. If the term becomes the same as "underground", then you lose the information about whether the worms belong there or not. It would also mean that you could say that a worm pulled out of the ground is not subterranean, which could be confusing (which definition do they mean?). That is why I think it's advantageous to keep the definitions precise.

As to re-purposing the adjectives from general to specific, I don't know that it was done that way. Maybe it was the other way around.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:47 PM   #99
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Ah. My style is perhaps not literary enough. How about sombre, or maybe in the context, fecal?
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:02 PM   #100
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Why would you ask a biologist?
Because the word describes a biological habitat.

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Just because the adjective subnivean is used to describe a climate or habitat in biology in no way means that it is incorrect to use it in other contexts.
ApK
The word 'subnivean' wasn't used. The word used was subnivial, a word made up to suit the author's desire at the time. I don't believe you can find it in the OED. If one's grasp of Latin is strong enough, you can 'assume' that the author's intention is that it means 'under the snow.' But that's just this author's incorrect usage of the word.

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It just means 'under the snow'.
In the same way that 'arm' means the things that hang off one's shoulders... or was it to give weapons, or was it take possession of weapons... wait... it was to prepare a weapon to fire... no... it was....

Would you say 'he armed them with a refrigerator?' You'd get the 'idea' that he 'gave' them a fridge. But the usage wouldn't be correct.

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Nope - I hope! Would you read any author who couldn't get so basic a thing as the difference between "its" and it's" right? I wouldn't!
Gosh, I would. I read as much for content as I do for writing style. Grammar mistakes, spelling mistakes, etc., unless they make the content impossible to understand, have no effect on my enjoyment of the read.

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Now, if the author had referred to the lawn, with it's fleeting seasonal snowcover, as being in an subnivean climate, then I might agree that he misused the term "subnivean climate."
Actually, 'subnivian climate' would be more accurate usage than 'subnivial lawn.' The first few inches of space on top of ground that has been covered with snow has a warmer temperature than the air above the snow, which is why there is snow melt in that zone creating the runways and tunnels used by rodents moving from place to place in search of food. The Subnivian Zone is a differentiated climactic area. The lawn isn't. It's just a lawn under the snow.


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Old 01-03-2013, 07:33 PM   #101
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I was looking for something more evocative.
Subterranean?

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Old 01-03-2013, 08:51 PM   #102
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The word 'subnivean' wasn't used. The word used was subnivial, a word made up to suit the author's desire at the time. I don't believe you can find it in the OED.
It was actually 'subniveal' and according to Harry it's even in the Kindle's dictionary. It's not made up by the author and it was correctly used.

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Would you say 'he armed them with a refrigerator?' You'd get the 'idea' that he 'gave' them a fridge. But the usage wouldn't be correct.
If I was painting a scene wherein the characters were 'doing battle against food spoilage' or 'on a covert op to provide cold drinks for a dorm party' I might indeed arm them with a refrigerator and it would be quite correct.


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Old 01-03-2013, 09:39 PM   #103
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It was actually 'subniveal' and according to Harry it's even in the Kindle's dictionary. It's not made up by the author and it was correctly used.
Interesting... I can't find any definition of 'subniveal' that doesn't say it's a zone under the snow. None that I see say it means 'under the snow.' They say it is 'From the Latin for "under" (sub) and "snow" (niv)....Which is what the subnivean area is. The climatic region between the ground and the bottom of the snow mass.
subnivean
Web definitions
Subnivean refers to a zone that is in or under the snow layer. From the Latin for "under" (sub) and "snow" (niv)....
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subnivean

Let's agree to disagree. I have a dictionary that defines 'chillblains' as 'the common cold, and another that says;
chilblains plural of chil·blain
Noun
A painful, itching swelling on the skin, typically on a hand or foot, caused by poor circulation in the skin when exposed to cold.
Which are we going to believe? Or shall we believe both, even though they have nothing to do with each other?

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If I was painting a scene wherein the characters were 'doing battle against food spoilage' or 'on a covert op to provide cold drinks for a dorm party' I might indeed arm them with a refrigerator and it would be quite correct.
ApK
Yes, it would be... in those situations. I can not believe that 'subnevial,' in this situation while in fact being 'under the snow' is correct usage of the word. Anyone NOT using the Latin translation to this word, anyone who was familiar with the word as it is used, would be completely thrown off. As I was. When I read the sentence used, I thought; 'a climatic zone under the lawn? Strange...' Perhaps there are times words are chosen that one normally wouldn't use, and as a result, creates more confusion for the reader.


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Old 01-03-2013, 10:06 PM   #104
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The included dictionary on Kindle 3 is one of the things that I appreciate, but that also frustrates me. I'm becoming spoilt, but using the 5 way controller to highlight the word is becoming a drag. I'm looking forward to the way the Touch models handle it.

I rarely looked up words in my reading before the Kindle as I couldn't be bothered grabbing the nearest dictionary. However, having immediate access has certainly changed that for me. Sometimes, after understanding words only through context over time I am left with an imperfect understanding and my own usage is occasionally "off". It's nice to get a clearer picture.

I don't have a list of words at the moment. My vocabulary is not nearly as rich as some readers here, so I might feel somewhat embarrassed publicising my ignorance.

I'm all for authors artistically re-purposing words though if it helps the story telling. It might be because I used to enjoy writing poetry, but it was occasionally effective to misuse words to create certain sounds or pictures in my head when reading. I expect an author not just to use prose, but to use it to the best possible effect and this can sometimes be achieved with great success through misuse as well as through correct use.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:10 PM   #105
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Interesting... I can't find any definition of 'subniveal' that doesn't say it's a zone under the snow. None that I see say it means 'under the snow.'
http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dic...lish/subniveal

You didn't look very hard. It's the third Google result.
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