the old ...

LV4-26

Senior Member
Hi foreros

Gal was the best loser-of-tail in the business, if there is such a business, but his method is a bit of a strain on the old ticker.

I would just like a confirmation. Here, the adjective "old" doesn't mean that the heart is old or tired or that it is an old man's heart or whatever. It's just some sort of familiar and affectionate way of referring to one's own heart. Am I right ?
Otherwise he would have written "a bit of a strain on old tickers", wouldn't he ?

PS : I've noticed that the tenses do not agree but this is not the issue I'm worried about.:) (or rather I'm no longer worried about that)

Thx in advance
Jean-Michel
 
  • suzzzenn

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi



    "Here, the adjective "old" doesn't mean that the heart is old or tired or that it is an old man's heart or whatever. It's just some sort of familiar and affectionate way of referring to one's own heart. Am I right ?"

    yes I think you are right!

    Otherwise he would have written "a bit of a strain on old tickers", wouldn't he

    I'm not sure what you mean. If tyhe author is talking about one heart, it is always singular for obvious reasons. old ticker=one heart, old tickers = two or more hearts. I don't know the origin of this expression, but assume that the verb to tick was nominalized. Ticker = colloquial for something that ticks

    Susan
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    As one pedo viejo to another, I think you've got it right.

    Now please give us your interpretation of that fine old expression: 'loser of tail'!!


    Merci,
    Cuchu
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    suzzzenn said:
    I'm not sure what you mean.
    In my first interpretation (not mentionned in my first post) I'd understood (and translated) that it was a strain on old hearts in general. Then I realized that "the old (whatever)" must be an expression because I remembered having seen it used here and there.
    And this second thought was confirmed by the use of the singular + the definite article (instead of the plural + the undefinite article).
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    cuchuflete said:
    As one pedo viejo to another, I think you've got it right.

    Now please give us your interpretation of that fine old expression: 'loser of tail'!!


    Merci,
    Cuchu
    IMHO a "loser of tail" is a driver who is an expert in loosing the cars which are trying to follow him.
    I've seen quite a few detective movies, see ?:)
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    LV4-26 said:
    IMHO a "loser of tail" is a driver who is an expert in loosing the cars which are trying to follow him.
    I've seen quite a few detective movies, see ?:)
    Just a small correction, LV4;

    lose
    losing
    lost
    loser


    loose= not tight
    looser= not tighter
    loosest
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    HOLY SMOKES! You don't WANT to know where my mind went on "loser of tail"! I imaginged him being an old worn-out pimp with a work-force of maybe 20 or so ladies. Maybe at his prime he had 50 ladies working under him. Now, because he's older and the business is really one that's bad on the ol' ticker, his work force has diminished as he has "lost tail."

    Please, give us the sentence before and after the one written! I, too, as well as Cuchu, would like to know what "loser of tail" actually is!
    :confused:
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    mjscott said:
    HOLY SMOKES! You don't WANT to know where my mind went on "loser of tail"! I imaginged him being an old worn-out pimp with a work-force of maybe 20 or so ladies. Maybe at his prime he had 50 ladies working under him. Now, because he's older and the business is really one that's bad on the ol' ticker, his work force has diminished as he has "lost tail."

    Please, give us the sentence before and after the one written! I, too, as well as Cuchu, would like to know what "loser of tail" actually is!
    :confused:
    Goes to show you where our minds have gone...straight to the proverbial gutter. I was also thinking the same thing. But I don't want to define "tail" for those who don't know. Let them ask.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    mjscott said:
    HOLY SMOKES! You don't WANT to know where my mind went on "loser of tail"! I imaginged him being an old worn-out pimp with a work-force of maybe 20 or so ladies. Maybe at his prime he had 50 ladies working under him. Now, because he's older and the business is really one that's bad on the ol' ticker, his work force has diminished as he has "lost tail."

    Please, give us the sentence before and after the one written! I, too, as well as Cuchu, would like to know what "loser of tail" actually is!
    :confused:
    Why would automatically think in that direction?

    (It was my first thought too…) :D

    I'm not sure that "great minds think a like" is applicable in this case. :)

    Gaer
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    I see. ;) Tsk tsk tsk
    I have no doubt about the meaning of "tail-loser" or "loser-of-tail" because the context here is perfectly clear. Here is what comes just before the excerpt I first quoted.
    'Where are we going?'
    'To eat first. I was being followed, and I thought I might have to ask you to lose them for me, but they've gone away now.'
    'I thought you'd gone off my way of losing tails?'
    He was right. Gal was the best loser-of-tails in the business [....]
    (have already quoted the rest)
    Then he explains how he'd asked Gal to do that for him once and how Gal had driven them to a level-crossing he knew, then waited till the the gates were dropping and "slammed the old motor through like some sort of demented version of Evil Kneevel".(famous stunt man on a motorbike).
    Which explains why he thinks Gal's way of losing tails is a bit of a strain.;)

    So I take it that the expression "loser of tails" isn't that clear in the absence of context even for native speakers.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    jacinta said:
    Just a small correction, LV4;

    lose
    losing
    lost
    loser


    loose= not tight
    looser= not tighter
    loosest
    Thanks jacinta. And you're right, this was a confusion between "lose" and "loose".

    HOLY SMOKES!
    Thanks mjscott. A new English expression in my bag. I like that.

    But I don't want to define "tail" for those who don't know. Let them ask
    Well, jacinta, I won't ask as the French equivalent "queue" has got several different meanings, too.:) (erm..."different", but connected in a way)

    EDIT : oops, I've just looked up in my slang dictionnaries and it appears that "tail" has got even more meanings in English than I'd thought.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    LV4-26 said:
    So I take it that the expression "loser of tails" isn't that clear in the absence of context even for native speakers.
    Yes, quite right. The Americans amongst us interpreted as meaning "girl" but we don't really use "tail" here to mean that, so I would have been completely confused by that sentence without a context.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    LV4-26 said:
    I've checked in my Concise Oxford.

    tail n. & v.
    [...]
    9 colloq. a person following or shadowing another.
    Yes the word is fine it is the "loser of tail" that the author has made into some sort of set-phrase that is unclear. At the very least it would have to be "loser of tails" or "tail-loser" and then, without context, it still would not be very clear.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    timpeac said:
    At the very least it would have to be "loser of tails"
    Sorry, my bad ;) .It is "tails" in the plural, actually. I realize I forgot the "s" in my first post.
    And of course, having read the whole story, I'm one ahead of you all. Because I know the writer keeps making up expressions of his own throughout the book.
    Have a look at the end of the same paragraph and you'll understand what I mean :
    I swore I'd never again use Gal as a tail-loser or getaway driver unless it was essential that I lose the tail or get away.

    Elsewhere :
    a fat guy dressed-up-to-look-tough

    And my favorite :
    I've got an office in Canning Town, above a newsagent's, confectioner's, stationer's, small post-office and we-sell-anything shop run by Mr Chardray, a mate of mine.

    Not to mention the "speak-here" boxes I quoted in another thread.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    LV4-26 said:
    Sorry, my bad ;) .It is "tails" in the plural, actually. I realize I forgot the "s" in my first post.
    And of course, having read the whole story, I'm one ahead of you all. Because I know the writer keeps making up expressions of his own throughout the book.
    Have a look at the end of the same paragraph and you'll understand what I mean :
    I swore I'd never again use Gal as a tail-loser or getaway driver unless it was essential that I lose the tail or get away.

    Elsewhere :
    a fat guy dressed-up-to-look-tough

    And my favorite :
    I've got an office in Canning Town, above a newsagent's, confectioner's, stationer's, small post-office and we-sell-anything shop run by Mr Chardray, a mate of mine.

    Not to mention the "speak-here" boxes I quoted in another thread.
    I presume we are still reading your cockney friend? I don't know how you stand it. How is the book to read, are you actively enjoying it or is it more an intellectual exercise?
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    LV4-26 said:
    I see. ;) Tsk tsk tsk
    I have no doubt about the meaning of "tail-loser" or "loser-of-tail" because the context here is perfectly clear. Here is what comes just before the excerpt I first quoted.
    'Where are we going?'
    'To eat first. I was being followed, and I thought I might have to ask you to lose them for me, but they've gone away now.'
    'I thought you'd gone off my way of losing tails?'
    He was right. Gal was the best loser-of-tails in the business [....]
    (have already quoted the rest)
    Then he explains how he'd asked Gal to do that for him once and how Gal had driven them to a level-crossing he knew, then waited till the the gates were dropping and "slammed the old motor through like some sort of demented version of Evil Kneevel".(famous stunt man on a motorbike).
    Which explains why he thinks Gal's way of losing tails is a bit of a strain.;)

    So I take it that the expression "loser of tails" isn't that clear in the absence of context even for native speakers.
    Well, THIS native speaker was very confused and did not think of "losing a tail". :)

    In context, it's very clear though. :)

    Gaer
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    timpeac said:
    I presume we are still reading your cockney friend? I don't know how you stand it. How is the book to read, are you actively enjoying it or is it more an intellectual exercise?
    We are.
    And, mind you, I like that book. It's true, I'm not kidding you. But it's an old story. I translated this book 15 years ago and, for some reason which would be too long to explain, I started all over again. As I said in another thread, when you translate a book you soon get attached to the story, the characters and the style so I know I can't be objective. However I do think the story is enjoyable and the style is full of humour.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    LV4-26 said:
    We are.
    And, mind you, I like that book. It's true, I'm not kidding you. But it's an old story. I translated this book 15 years ago and, for some reason which would be too long to explain, I started all over again. As I said in another thread, when you translate a book you soon get attached to the story, the characters and the style so I know I can't be objective. However I do think the story is enjoyable and the style is full of humour.
    I think that when you translate something, you get much closer to it than you could ever do otherwise. You really think about every word, so you see things that no one else sees.

    Gaer
     

    te gato

    Senior Member
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    He he he he he ...

    Boy am I glad that I read the entire thread...
    I was playing gutter ball with mjscott and jacinta....
    Who's turn is it??

    te gato;)
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    gaer said:
    I think that when you translate something, you get much closer to it than you could ever do otherwise. You really think about every word, so you see things that no one else sees.
    That's perfectly true. And moreover, as it takes much longer to translate than to read you have enough time to be completely "immersed" in the story, you end up living the story through the protagonist and the latter becomes much like a close friend.(all the more so when you've only ever translated one single novel;) )
    But I stop here since this hasn't much to do with the original topic.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    LV4-26 said:
    That's perfectly true. And moreover, as it takes much longer to translate than to read you have enough time to be completely "immersed" in the story, you end up living the story through the protagonist and the latter becomes much like a close friend.(all the more so when you've only ever translated one single novel;) )
    But I stop here since this hasn't much to do with the original topic.
    We can pick up this topic on another night in a different place. :)

    Gaer
     
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