ever and anon

< Previous | Next >

maddu

Banned
English - USA
Hi,

"As well as being the banners and ensigns of human groups, languages guard our memories too. Even when they are unwritten, languages are the most powerful tools we have to conserve our past knowledge, transmitting it, ever and anon, to the next generation. Any human language binds together a human community, by giving it a network of communications; but it also dramatizes it, providing the means to tell, and to remember, its stories." (Empires of the Word, Nicholas Ostler)

My dictionary says "ever and anon" means "occasionally" or "from time to time". Does that make any sense here though?

Thanks!
 
  • coiffe

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English
    It makes some sense, but it's archaic. Nobody says "ever and anon" any longer, unless they're performing Shakespeare on stage. :)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, it's archaic, but might occasionally be used in a contemporary literary context (such as the Nicholas Ostler book you referred to).
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Despite the title of his book, it sounds as though Nicholas Ostler got the meaning of this phrase wrong. He seems to be using it to mean 'for ever.'
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    My dictionary says "ever and anon" means "occasionally" or "from time to time". Does that make any sense here though?
    My guess is not. I cannot say I am familiar with the historical use of "for ever and anon", as no one uses the expression any more, but I think the writer means for ever, repeatedly or continuously.

    [Cross-posted with Chasint]
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top