carved out of the steep rock

mimi2

Senior Member
vietnam vietnamese
Hi,
'Today, tourists can wander through the awesome cliff dwellings that the Indians carved out of the steep rock.'
Could you please help me with "carved out of the steep rock". I can't imagine how it is.
Thanks.
 
  • mimi2

    Senior Member
    vietnam vietnamese
    Hi, nzfauna.
    Does it mean the Indians' homes were the holes dug into the rocks?
    What about 'out of'?
     

    mimi2

    Senior Member
    vietnam vietnamese
    Thank you, Albert, nzfauna.
    The cliff is high and vertical. How could they climb there to dig something and how can tourists can wander there?
     

    coiffe

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English
    Could you please explain "out of"?
    Would it be OK if I said "Here is a picture of an Indian dwelling carved into the steep rock?
    Thanks.
    Mimi,

    Think of it like a sculpture. The use of "out of" refers to pieces being chipped out of or cut out of the original, leaving the eventual artifact in place.

    "Out of" is often used in creative contexts. Some religious texts refer to man being made "out of clay." A sculpture can be made "out of" an undifferentiated slab of marble. An Indian dwelling can be carved "out of" a blank rock escarpment that had only potential before the Indians applied their creative vision.
     

    Albert53

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I agree with coiffe and would like to add that mimi's sentence is also correct but emphasises the digging.

    As to how the Indians got up there, I believe that they first cut very narrow footpaths up the face of the cliff.

    I don't know if tourists can simply go up there.
    Albert
     

    coiffe

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English
    I agree with coiffe and would like to add that mimi's sentence is also correct but emphasises the digging.

    As to how the Indians got up there, I believe that they first cut very narrow footpaths up the face of the cliff.

    I don't know if tourists can simply go up there.
    Albert

    This is really very interesting. You can say "out of" or "into" the steep rock. The emphasis is different, as Albert mentioned. In some ways the emphases are exactly opposite each other. If you carve or dig something out of the steep rock, you imply the rock is changeable. If you carve something into the rock you imply the rock is in a sense an unchangeable or immutable backdrop.
     
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