seeing the buoy marking his course

screenactorsguild

Senior Member
Vietnamese
Here is a sentence about graduate STUDY:
"If a fog prevents the sailor of a small boat from seeing the buoy marking his course, he turns the boat quickly in small circles, knowing that the waves he makes will rock the buoy in his vicinity."
Even though i can translate this, i can fathom the whole metaphor in terms of education.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I’m not quite sure what you’re asking, but the phrase in your title is part of an if-clause meaning: If someone sailing a small boat can’t see the buoy that marks the course he needs to take because visibility is reduced by fog,…

    It’s not a metaphor – it’s meant literally. But the whole situation described might be used as a metaphor for a different situation altogether.


    BUOY
    An anchored float serving as a navigation mark, to show reefs or other hazards, or for mooring.
     

    screenactorsguild

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese
    I’m not quite sure what you’re asking, but the phrase in your title is part of an if-clause meaning: If someone sailing a small boat can’t see the buoy that marks the course he needs to take because visibility is reduced by fog,…

    It’s not a metaphor – it’s meant literally. But the whole situation described might be used as a metaphor for a different situation altogether.


    BUOY
    An anchored float serving as a navigation mark, to show reefs or other hazards, or for mooring.
    It is about graduate study. Does it mean if you try out something new, then you will at least gain some first-hand experience?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    The quote, attributed to Richard Armstrong is incomplete, and consequently does not make sense. Here is a longer version:
    When fog prevents a small-boat sailor from seeing the buoy marking the course he wants, he turns the boat rapidly in small circles, knowing that the waves he makes will rock the buoy in his vicinity. Then he stops, listens and repeats the procedure until he hears the buoy clang. By making waves, he finds where his course lies.​

    Clearly this only works if the buoy contains a bell or gong.

    Armstrong then went on to say about how making waves is therefore a way of finding your path. This is rather a poor metaphor, in my opinion, relying on a very specific example for its justification. However, the person quoting Armstrong in your source may well be using it for some other metaphor. I would have expected them to indicate what it was, for, as you say, there is nothing obviously relevant.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s impossible to know exactly what point is being made without seeing more of the text. I don’t see it as relating to trying something new. Maybe it means that you have to be proactive (rock the boat, so to speak) in order to find your way.

    EDIT: I’ve just seen the above post, which seems to confirm my guess.
     
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