erection of bridges to ferry coastal traffic

chopin7

Senior Member
Albanian
Hello

It's a documentary, "Life in the wild".
This part is about estuaries.
At one point, narrator says,
"Sadly, by this time, most of South Africa's surviving estuaries had been
irrevocably altered through the erection of bridges to ferry coastal traffic."

I am just not sure, since I don't know and I can't get it from this sentence,
if these bridges were erected to serve to the ferry coastal traffic.
Is this what he means here?

Thank you
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    This is the verb 'ferry', being used loosely to mean "transport, take". School buses ferry children to school. But it's a careless choice of words, since they're talking about waterways, so there might also be real, actual ferries going across.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I don't think the choice is careless, it's rather apt. In many instances there will have been real ferries carrying this coastal traffic across all the estuaries. Now the bridges have taken their place, and are "ferrying" this traffic.
     

    bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't think the choice of the word "ferry" is the question. I read it that Chopin wants to know if the bridges were erected for the purpose of serving the coastal traffic. If that's so, then yes, they were built for this purpose.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Yes, we've been naughty and gone off at a tangent.
    I read Chopin's question as asking whether the bridges were erected in order to take ("serve") traffic to the ferries. If so, then no, they weren't.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    No, BG, that's quoted from the source chopin quoted. Chopin then asked whether this meant "if these bridges were erected to serve to the ferry coastal traffic".
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It all depends on what we mean by "careless". :) If cleverness was intended, then "ferry" was not a careless choice of word, but it may have been a careless act to intend cleverness.

    "Carry" does seem to be the most obvious orthodox choice of word here, and an amusing thought has just occurred to me. I don't suppose Chopin had access to an official transcript of the documentary, so he could have merely seen the video and heard its soundtrack. It strikes me as possible that the actual word used in the documentary really was "carry", and that Chopin simply misheard it.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I see nothing wrong with the use of the verb ferry. The earliest use, which continues, and as given by the OED:
    1. trans. To carry, convey, transport, take from one place to another.


    1970 H. Waugh Finish me Off (1971) 163 Then we warn the doormen and the super on her building that it wouldn't look good for them to ferry customers to her apartment.
     
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