He can’t help looking a little trapped there

“He can’t help looking a little trapped there” – Haven by Alice Munro

8 thoughts on “He can’t help looking a little trapped there

  1. I studied German in high school and college, but since I don’t use it, I’ve forgotten a lot of what I’ve learned. The only word I don’t understand on the sign is Firmenlok. My best guess would be “gate” or barrier? It looks a lot like a railroad crossing to me.

    1. :-D – now this is a complicated and plurivalent sign. I am not 100% sure about its meaning – but I’ll try to explain. The compound “Firmenlok” consists of two nouns “Firma” (firm, company) and “Lok” (abbrev. of Lokomotive, ie. locomotive, AE might be engine?). So it’s a company’s engine. Not an official railroad engine. To explain why “Firma” alters to “Firmen-” would clearly go beyond the scope of this my comment, *g*. It’s a thing the German language does. If you are interested, it’s called a “Fugenlaut”.
      So the sign says either “Stop in case a company’s engine is coming” (1% likelihood), “Stopping point for the company’s engine” (1%) or “The company’s engine is not allowed to go any further since the official German railroads begin here, it has to stop now” (98% – even if that was the last possibility that came to my mind;-))
      In the end I can’t be sure – but as long as I am not the engineer … ;-)

      1. Thanks for the explanation. There are so many subtle nuances in language, that it would take another whole blog to explain. For now, I’ll keep looking at the pictures, which speak their own language.

  2. Thanks for the translation. I tried a couple of german-english dictionaries and couldn’t make a compound out of the company and the engine. I finally concluded that the firmenlok is a rarely seen forest beast that is not allowed into settled areas beyond these signs. Firmenloks are highly evolved mammals that can read rudimentary commands. Works for me;-)

    1. The way you write it (without capitals) it looks like the name of a beast out of a Nordic saga that has black felted fur and huge tusks and makes a “uaaarrrruaaarar” noise.
      BTW chicken is on its way since … seven hours. Might take 3 to 5 days they say.

    1. I think I have a photo of the firmenlok somewhere (it was asleep so not dangerous), I’ll post it on the scrappress the moment I find it …

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