signify

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kahroba

Senior Member
Persian
Dear friends
Please kindly advise what's meant by "signified the bartender" in the following context, taken from "The Three Soldiers" by John Dos Passos:
Time: 1917
Location: an army camp in USA.
"You're gettin' a dis-charge, aren't you?" asked a man with a brogue, and the red face of a jovial gorilla, that signified the bartender.
Does it mean that his red face resembelled face of bartenders?
Note: there's no previous reference to "the bartender".
 
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  • xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    That's how I read it as well. His accent and countenance made it clear that he was a bartender. Are they in a bar in the camp?
     

    Niblib

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    "You're gettin' a dis-charge, aren't you?" asked a man with a brogue, and the red face of a jovial gorilla, that signified the bartender."

    I read this as the brogue showed that he was the bartender. Much like strippes on a military uniform would signify rank.
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    "You're gettin' a dis-charge, aren't you?" asked a man with a brogue, and the red face of a jovial gorilla, that signified the bartender."

    I read this as the brogue showed that he was the bartender. Much like strippes on a military uniform would signify rank.
    A brogue is a kind of accent. I don't see how that would indicate that he is a bartender.

    I agree that the "red face" (drinking) of a "jovial" (friendly and sociable, like a good neighborhood bartender) "gorilla" (large person who can deal effectively with drunks, perhaps) are being used as classic signs that someone is a bartender.
     

    Niblib

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    A brogue is a kind of accent. I don't see how that would indicate that he is a bartender.

    I agree that the "red face" (drinking) of a "jovial" (friendly and sociable, like a good neighborhood bartender) "gorilla" (large person who can deal effectively with drunks, perhaps) are being used as classic signs that someone is a bartender.
    Normaly I'd agree with that but I'm not sure about that second comma. Doesn't two commas suggest that what's in the commas could be dropped and the sentance still make sence. I would agree with you completely if the sentance was;
    "You're gettin' a dis-charge, aren't you?" asked a man with a brogue and the red face of a jovial gorilla that signified the bartender."
    But now, knowing what a brouge is, i'd say the commas were perhapse an error.
    Your thought?
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Normally I'd agree with that but I'm not sure about that second comma. Doesn't Don't two commas suggest that what's in the commas could be dropped and the sentence still make sense. I would agree with you completely if the sentence was;
    "You're gettin' a dis-charge, aren't you?" asked a man with a brogue and the red face of a jovial gorilla that signified the bartender."
    But now, knowing what a brogue is, I'd say the commas were perhapse an error.
    Your thought?
    I completely disagree.

    Karoba's text is from Dos Passos, who has a very free approach to grammar and punctuation.

    Also, the brogue probably means he is an Irishman, and while there may have been lots of Irish bartenders around it is hardly a restricting condition.

    (I hope you don't mind the few corrections I made.)
     

    Niblib

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    I completely disagree.

    Karoba's text is from Dos Passos, who has a very free approach to grammar and punctuation.

    Also, the brogue probably means he is an Irishman, and while there may have been lots of Irish bartenders around it is hardly a restricting condition.

    (I hope you don't mind the few corrections I made.)
    I don't know who he is so I'll have to take your word for it. Would you say under normal circumstances the commas should be dropped?
    And it's fine to correct my mistakes. I make them often, usually with spelling, and it's better than leaving them there for our non-native English speaking compatriots. (The "non-native English speaking" part doesn't quite sound right but I couldn't figure out how to fix it.)
     
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