is falling away up and down the ages


Senior Member
Hi, during the following sentences, from "Landspeak" by Robert Macfarlane, I cannot understand the meaning of the red part. Please help.

Children are now (and valuably) adept ecologists of the technoscape, with numerous terms for file types but few for different trees and creatures. A basic literacy of landscape is falling away up and down the ages.
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Falling away" suggests to me that this knowledge (basic literacy) has been eroded and is being lost just as part of a cliff might fall away. "Up and down the ages" must mean "with the passing of time", but I don't really understand what the writer intends by the phrase.

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I think "up and down the ages" here means "across all age groups." I agree with Velisarius's explanation of "falling away."


    English - England
    I took "up and down the ages" to mean "in all generations" / "regardless of age" / "from young to old"

    (crosspost with the newt.)
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