"Howling and spinning"

jennyunica

Senior Member
italy italian
Hi, I'm reading the description of some pupils who are playing in the schoolground. It says:

"The white boys were howling and spinning around a football, or lashing out with cricket-bats whilst Shaz and Patel stood against a wall watching".

I have two problems:

1. I don't understand what they are doing with the ball. Are the boys who run around the ball, is the ball spinning, I can't get it.

2. To lash out is to attempt to hit someone but I miss a point. Are they lashing out against each other?

Thanks
Jenny
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hi, I'm reading the description of some pupils who are playing in the schoolground. It says:

    "The white boys were howling and spinning around a football, or lashing out with cricket-bats whilst Shaz and Patel stood against a wall watching".

    I have two problems: I'm not surprised, Jenny, it's not very clear.

    1. I don't understand what they are doing with the ball. Are the boys who run around the ball, is the ball spinning, I can't get it. I think they are milling round the ball, running round it, kicking it and each other more or less playfully.

    2. To lash out is to attempt to hit someone but I miss a point. Are they lashing out against at each other? Again, I suspect this is playful, but the English is ambiguous. Some children with objects like cricket bats in their hands like to pretend to be trying to hit the others. Lash out is perhaps quite a strong way of expressing this. We all know that children's games can get out of hand; perhaps that has happened. There certainly seems to be a racial element to what is happening: "the white boys" at the start, and Shaz and Patel sound like Indian boys. Patel is a very usual Indian family name. I remember reading that it was the fourth most common family name in the UK about four years ago.

    TT

    p.s. I have just checked those common family names: Patel is 24th most common name for the UK as a whole, and 3rd most common name for the Greater London area.


    Thanks
    Jenny
     
    Last edited:

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Again, the author is using vocabulary that makes the playground sound alien and frightening.

    Spinning - yes, footballers do run around a ball, but spinning makes it sound like they are inanimate.
    Howling - children do scream and shout, but howling makes them sound like wolves or demons.
    Lashing out - you do swing at a ball with a bat when playing cricket, but lash out makes it sound like a violent gesture.
     
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