"exacerbating" and" abbreviated"

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alber380095882

Member
Chinese
quoted fromhttp://blogs.ft.com/the-a-list/2013/11/06/how-america-should-handle-a-changing-japan/#axzz2l5KvJhEg
The country’s history has been marked by long (sometimes exacerbating) periods of constancy, abbreviated by infrequent episodes of profound change. After recent “lost decades”, we it is likely we are entering one of the latter periods. The fundamental change in attitudes and the attendant politics is best exemplified by the landslide election and return to power last year of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democrats, after a brief spell out of office for the party.

Does "sometimes exacerbating" here mean sometimes there were wars?
and does the "abbreviated by .."mean had there been no infrequent changes, the constancy would be longer?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    You should not post a link to a subscription-only page.

    Please be aware that blogs are contributed by people whose English may not always be very good, and in this case the use of the two words you are asking about does seem to be a bit questionable.
    Does "sometimes exacerbating" here mean sometimes there were wars?
    No, I see no way this could be a reference to wars, because it is describing periods of constancy, i.e. of stability. This is incompatible with wars. It is saying these periods of constancy are exacerbating, but without telling us what they are exacerbating.
    It requires a little imagination to understand how constancy can be exacerbating (which means to make something worse (literally bitter)), but I suppose lack of gradual change can lead to pent-up frustration with the sameness. If the pressure is allowed to build up over a lengthy period of time, it must eventually be released rather more suddenly or spectacularly, through these episodes of profound change: All the changes which would normally have happened gradually, have been kind of stored up during the periods of constancy (of no change) and are now all happening (relatively speaking) at once.
    and does the "abbreviated by .."mean had there been no infrequent changes, the constancy would be longer?
    I guess so, but it's a poor choice of word, because the periods of constancy are already long, and so shortening them is not really an option. It might have been better to say they were punctuated or delimited by these episodes. The sense of the whole comment is that change is not happening in small ongoing evolutionary steps but in big steps with long gaps inbetween.
     

    Stoggler

    Senior Member
    UK English
    You should not post a link to a subscription-only page.
    But the rules state that you should provide a source for quotes - so either way the OP would be in the wrong!

    Please be aware that blogs are contributed by people whose English may not always be very good, and in this case the use of the two words you are asking about does seem to be a bit questionable.
    It's a blog on the Financial Times' website - that is a highly reputable financial newspaper - it's not a publication known for its poor English-language standards. If anything, it's a conservative paper with high standards in these matters (as a rule).
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    .The sense of the whole comment is that change is not happening in small ongoing evolutionary steps but in big steps with long gaps inbetween.
    The sense to me is that there are long exasperating periods of nothing really happening, interpersed with short time periods where change occurs (like now).
     

    alber380095882

    Member
    Chinese
    I can open the page, though I'm not a subscriber to the FT, so I don't know others cannot open it. Anyway many thanks for your explanations.
     

    alber380095882

    Member
    Chinese
    But the rules state that you should provide a source for quotes - so either way the OP would be in the wrong!



    It's a blog on the Financial Times' website - that is a highly reputable financial newspaper - it's not a publication known for its poor English-language standards. If anything, it's a conservative paper with high standards in these matters (as a rule).
    I can open the page, though I'm not a subscriber to the FT, so I don't know others cannot open it. Anyway many thanks for your explanations.
     

    alber380095882

    Member
    Chinese
    You should not post a link to a subscription-only page.

    Please be aware that blogs are contributed by people whose English may not always be very good, and in this case the use of the two words you are asking about does seem to be a bit questionable.
    No, I see no way this could be a reference to wars, because it is describing periods of constancy, i.e. of stability. This is incompatible with wars. It is saying these periods of constancy are exacerbating, but without telling us what they are exacerbating.
    It requires a little imagination to understand how constancy can be exacerbating (which means to make something worse (literally bitter)), but I suppose lack of gradual change can lead to pent-up frustration with the sameness. If the pressure is allowed to build up over a lengthy period of time, it must eventually be released rather more suddenly or spectacularly, through these episodes of profound change: All the changes which would normally have happened gradually, have been kind of stored up during the periods of constancy (of no change) and are now all happening (relatively speaking) at once.
    I guess so, but it's a poor choice of word, because the periods of constancy are already long, and so shortening them is not really an option. It might have been better to say they were punctuated or delimited by these episodes. The sense of the whole comment is that change is not happening in small ongoing evolutionary steps but in big steps with long gaps inbetween.
    I can open the page, though I'm not a subscriber to the FT, so I don't know others cannot open it. Anyway many thanks for your explanations.
     
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