dangling discourse

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chopin7

Senior Member
Albanian
Hello


There is this speech from Martin Luther King


"With this faith,

we will be able to change the dangling discourse
of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood".


I having a bit of difficulty to understand exactly
"the dangling discourse of our nation".

Thanks
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm not surprised, Chopin. I suspect this may have a special encoded meaning in AE, but to me it means a debate about national issues which is in the balance, under discussion, with perhaps a pejorative overtone than these are issues which ought to be resolved.
     

    chopin7

    Senior Member
    Albanian
    Thanks, Thomas

    Since it's a speech from Martin Luther King, I thought it might mean "the difficult dialogue between blacks and whites".

    Anyway, I would appreciate any other opinion
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You may well be right. He may be saying that the whites don't talk to blacks much and vice versa. Certainly what he goes on to say about the beautiful symphony of brotherhood suggests that, by contradistinction.

    I think that's far more likely than my first suggestion. I replied not because I was sure of my answer, but because I thought you'd waited rather a long time for a response.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I agree with Thomas Tompion.*

    When you leave an issue "dangling" you leave it unresolved, and often that is regarded as unsatisfactory. As far as I know "dangling discourse" is not a common collocation, but it suggests to me conversation that does not produce resolution. Context would make it clear whether in this case Martin Luther King means us to think of the conversation about race relations in particular, or more general conversation about national issues and goals. My guess would be the latter, but without more context, it is only a guess.

    *Edit: ~ or I thought I did until I saw this more recent post, posted as I was writing this. Now he will have to decide whether he agrees with me.
     

    chopin7

    Senior Member
    Albanian
    Unfortunately I don't have more context. It's just a piece of movie with different pieces of speeches from Kenedy, Martin Luter King and the wife of Bill Clinton (I don't remember here name) but I think I got a clear idea now.

    So thanks again Thomas and Cagey
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I actually think Cagey is far more likely to right than I am. I thought at first the quotation had some specific AE meaning, and replied just on what I thought the words meant without any special context. I think we still need to clear up the point about the contradistinction with the beautiful symphony of brotherhood, which I find hard to place outside a discussion of racism. We ought to be able to find the rest of the speech without much trouble.

    P.S. Here it is. The context is certainly the struggle to end racial discrimination. And the dangling discourse must be the unresolved discussion about how this can be achieved, with, as I suggested earlier, the pejorative tone implying that this is something which should have been done long before.
     
    Last edited:

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    [....]I think we still need to clear up the point about the contradistinction with the beautiful symphony of brotherhood, which I find hard to place outside a discussion of racism. We ought to be able to find the rest of the speech without much trouble.
    On second look, I agree. The other possibility I imagined ~ that we might turn our conversation from one truncated by racial divisions, to a united discussion ~ seems less likely.

    Edit: The newly supplied context is decisive.
     

    King Crimson

    Modus in fabula
    Italiano
    I'd like to offer another example of this unusual expression, from the Simon And Garfunkel's song "The Dangling Conversation":

    And I only kiss your shadow,
    I cannot feel your hand,
    You're a stranger now unto me
    Lost in the dangling conversation.


    I tend to agree with Cagey that a dangling discourse/conversation is somehow unresolved. In this case it would also appear, from the song's lyrics, that the the "dangling" conversation beween the two lovers has a superficial tone to it, sort of a screen to avoid direct confrontation on more important issues.
     
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