gasp

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sigalit

Senior Member
croatian
It’s from a documentary film about medical stuff, surgery etc. A man is returning from the state of clinical death, he’s on the operation table, and surgeons are around him



His pupils started to react, he regained his heartbeat. And he took a kind of single gasping breath. I think we(=surgeons) all gasped right after. After 3 months of rehab, Ward recovers (...)


Maybe it’s a bit silly question, but I have to be sure (coz I’m not allowed to have a single mistake) – is the second ‘’gasp’’ (in bold) metaphoric or literal, or both? Because, I didn’t find this metaphoric meaning in any English sources, but in some languages, ‘’breathe out’’ means something like ‘’be relieved’’. But ''gasp'', according to my dictionaries, means ''to breathe in''. Does the 2nd sentence mean that the surgeons were relieved?
 
  • papakapp

    Senior Member
    English - NW US
    I take the word gasped to be an expression of relieved apprehension in this context. Because of the words "I think we...", earlier in the same sentence, I do not believe the meaning of the sentence changes whether the surgeons actually gasped or not. This is because whether they actually gasped or not, the author still thinks they experienced apprehension relieved. Therefore the sentence remains true regardless.

    Therefore, to sum it all up...
    I believe "gasped" can only be a literal event. However, since the author did not actually frame it as being literal (by use of the words "I think") that means the emphasis is on the emotion that produces gasps, not the gasp itself.
     

    sigalit

    Senior Member
    croatian
    Oh thank you. I know it was rather obvious, but I'm just paranoic, because of the rigorous criteria of the company for which i'm translating. Even a mistake in nuance is ''unforgivable''. That's why I'm bothering this forum so frequently:)
     

    dukaine

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I take the word gasped to be an expression of relieved apprehension in this context. Because of the words "I think we...", earlier in the same sentence, I do not believe the meaning of the sentence changes whether the surgeons actually gasped or not. This is because whether they actually gasped or not, the author still thinks they experienced apprehension relieved. Therefore the sentence remains true regardless.

    Therefore, to sum it all up...
    I believe "gasped" can only be a literal event. However, since the author did not actually frame it as being literal (by use of the words "I think") that means the emphasis is on the emotion that produces gasps, not the gasp itself.
    I think "relieved apprehension" is kind of an oxymoron. Maybe "anticipation" is the word you were going for? A gasp (breathing in) is usually a sign of apprehension, anticipation, or surprise; and a sigh (breathing out) is usually a sign of relief. The fact that the documentary uses "gasp" indicates to me that nobody is really relieved just yet. They're just waiting to see what's going to happen next.
     

    papakapp

    Senior Member
    English - NW US
    I think "relieved apprehension" is kind of an oxymoron. Maybe "anticipation" is the word you were going for? A gasp (breathing in) is usually a sign of apprehension, anticipation, or surprise; and a sigh (breathing out) is usually a sign of relief. The fact that the documentary uses "gasp" indicates to me that nobody is really relieved just yet. They're just waiting to see what's going to happen next.
    If you prefer, consider "apprehension relieved".

    In other words, the emotion one experiences when their apprehension is in the process of being relieved. As in the case of observing a person in cardiac arrest, who takes a breath after 30 seconds of non-breathing.

    When you observe that 30 second breath, I would consider that either "apprehension relieved" or "relieved apprehension"
     

    dukaine

    Senior Member
    English - American
    If you prefer, consider "apprehension relieved".

    In other words, the emotion one experiences when their apprehension is in the process of being relieved. As in the case of observing a person in cardiac arrest, who takes a breath after 30 seconds of non-breathing.

    When you observe that 30 second breath, I would consider that either "apprehension relieved" or "relieved apprehension"
    If I consider "apprehension relieved", I would still think that they would be sighing instead of gasping. A gasp indicates to me that they're surprised or maybe in awe of what just happened, not relieved.
     

    papakapp

    Senior Member
    English - NW US
    If I consider "apprehension relieved", I would still think that they would be sighing instead of gasping. A gasp indicates to me that they're surprised or maybe in awe of what just happened, not relieved.
    That, I agree with. I think "gasp", according to most dictionaries means to breathe in. Sighing is more accurately thought of as breathing out.
    But with the Sentence given by the OP (original poster) I believe the context of that sentence asks the reader to forgo the traditional rendering, and make grammatical allowances for the sake of the poetic symmetry of the idea that
    the patient gasped, then the doctors gasped.
     

    dukaine

    Senior Member
    English - American
    That, I agree with. I think "gasp", according to most dictionaries means to breathe in. Sighing is more accurately thought of as breathing out.
    But with the Sentence given by the OP (original poster) I believe the context of that sentence asks the reader to forgo the traditional rendering, and make grammatical allowances for the sake of the poetic symmetry of the idea that
    the patient gasped, then the doctors gasped.
    That's definitely a possibility.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I understood the sentence to indicate that the doctors were all surprised that this man who appeared dead has now apparently revived; they gasped because they were startled by his breathing, and not because they were relieved.

    (And you might also note, sigalit, that there is no word "coz" in English; you really do need to spell out the full word "because".)
     
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