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NIbble back from his teeth.

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  • Ross
    Hello, nice to meet you. Can I ask about English? I m reading Rabbit, run, the novel written by john updike, it s really hard, full of words I never heard of.
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 6, 2008
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      Hello, nice to meet you.
      Can I ask about English?
      I'm reading Rabbit, run, the novel written by
      john updike, it's really hard, full of words I never heard of.

      The sentence is,

      .. and without breaking stride cans it(a pack of cigarettes)
      in somebody's open barrel. His upper lip nibbles back from his
      teeth in self-pleasure...

      So what exactly happened in his lips?
      Can someone write a whole new sentence which has the same meaning?
      thanks for reading.
      have a nice day.
    • Remington Smythe
      That s a fairly odd sentence for me, too, and English is my native language. (Appalachian english, admittedly, though) I ve never read Updike, so I m curious
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 6, 2008
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        That's a fairly odd sentence for me, too, and English is my native language. (Appalachian english, admittedly, though)

        I've never read Updike, so I'm curious to know exactly what era and what kind of audience he's writing for in this odd style...

        Anyway, my best guess would be that his upper lip twitches upwards into a hard smile, sort of a baring the teeth at the enemy kind of reaction.

        But as far as my knowledge of english goes it's really a completely wrong place to use the word 'nibbles'...

        But far be it for me to criticize famous authors... (Even though Hawthorne and Melville are, imo, the most boring writers in history...)

        Ross <qlseovks@...> wrote: Hello, nice to meet you.
        Can I ask about English?
        I'm reading Rabbit, run, the novel written by
        john updike, it's really hard, full of words I never heard of.

        The sentence is,

        .. and without breaking stride cans it(a pack of cigarettes)
        in somebody's open barrel. His upper lip nibbles back from his
        teeth in self-pleasure...

        So what exactly happened in his lips?
        Can someone write a whole new sentence which has the same meaning?
        thanks for reading.
        have a nice day.






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      • Leigh Priest
        Hi, Ross, I agree that this is a very peculiar image. Maybe he means the lip is gradually moving back in steps. Not every image that writers come up with
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 6, 2008
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          Hi, Ross,

          I agree that this is a very peculiar image. Maybe he means
          the lip is gradually moving back in steps. Not every image that
          writers come up with works!
          Raymond Carver wrote powerful short stories in
          straightforward and simple English. Perhaps you could have a look
          at his writing.

          Best wishes,
          Leigh

          At 11:19 06/02/2008, you wrote:
          >The sentence is,
          >
          >.. and without breaking stride cans it(a pack of cigarettes)
          >in somebody's open barrel. His upper lip nibbles back from his
          >teeth in self-pleasure...
        • Rick Thomas
          ... Hi Ross, My girlfriend thinks that nibbles is a strange word to use for a lip lifting back. However, she thinks that it s probably a poetic use of this
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 8, 2008
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            --- In DUTCH-ENGLISH-STUDY-GROUP@yahoogroups.com, "Ross"
            <qlseovks@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hello, nice to meet you.
            > Can I ask about English?
            > I'm reading Rabbit, run, the novel written by
            > john updike, it's really hard, full of words I never heard of.
            >
            > The sentence is,
            >
            > .. and without breaking stride cans it(a pack of cigarettes)
            > in somebody's open barrel. His upper lip nibbles back from his
            > teeth in self-pleasure...
            >
            > So what exactly happened in his lips?
            > Can someone write a whole new sentence which has the same meaning?
            > thanks for reading.
            > have a nice day.
            >

            Hi Ross,

            My girlfriend thinks that 'nibbles' is a strange word to use for a lip
            lifting back. However, she thinks that it's probably a poetic use of
            this verb as there is an image about rabbits (rabbit teeth do a lot of
            nibbling ;-) ). It's like a transferred epithet which means the word
            nibbles is actually from his teeth rather than his lips.

            Rick
          • Kevin Simpson
            it just means that he smiles with a grin like in ecstasy, showing his teeth. his lips open with a smile of ecstacy, To:
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 8, 2008
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              it just means that he smiles with a grin like in ecstasy, showing his teeth.

              "his lips open with a smile of ecstacy,"


              To: DUTCH-ENGLISH-STUDY-GROUP@yahoogroups.comFrom: hiirik@...: Fri, 8 Feb 2008 15:15:23 +0000Subject: [DESG] Re: NIbble back from his teeth.




              --- In DUTCH-ENGLISH-STUDY-GROUP@yahoogroups.com, "Ross"<qlseovks@...> wrote:>> Hello, nice to meet you.> Can I ask about English?> I'm reading Rabbit, run, the novel written by> john updike, it's really hard, full of words I never heard of.> > The sentence is,> > .. and without breaking stride cans it(a pack of cigarettes)> in somebody's open barrel. His upper lip nibbles back from his> teeth in self-pleasure...> > So what exactly happened in his lips?> Can someone write a whole new sentence which has the same meaning?> thanks for reading.> have a nice day.>Hi Ross,My girlfriend thinks that 'nibbles' is a strange word to use for a liplifting back. However, she thinks that it's probably a poetic use ofthis verb as there is an image about rabbits (rabbit teeth do a lot ofnibbling ;-) ). It's like a transferred epithet which means the wordnibbles is actually from his teeth rather than his lips.Rick






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            • Maddie Olson
              Hi Ross, I agree that the verb nibble in this case refers to the manner the lips are gradually being brought back to expose the teeth, that is, in small
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 9, 2008
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                Hi Ross,

                I agree that the verb "nibble" in this case refers to the manner the
                lips are gradually being brought back to expose the teeth, that is,
                in small incriments. I believe the fact that it's no coincidence that
                Updike chose to use "nibble" when writing about a rabbit, since
                nibbling in the more traditional sense of the word is certainly
                something rabbits engage in (and perhaps rabits see the world in
                terms of the things rabbits do best: hopping, running and nibbling)
                and their actions should be described in those kinds of terms.

                I look forward to the day when I can attempt to read actual Dutch
                literature and understand it's nuances. Right now I'm lucky if I
                understand the caption under a photograph of a newspaper!

                Maddie

                >
                > Hello, nice to meet you.
                > Can I ask about English?
                > I'm reading Rabbit, run, the novel written by
                > john updike, it's really hard, full of words I never heard of.
                >
                > The sentence is,
                >
                > .. and without breaking stride cans it(a pack of cigarettes)
                > in somebody's open barrel. His upper lip nibbles back from his
                > teeth in self-pleasure...
                >
                > So what exactly happened in his lips?
                > Can someone write a whole new sentence which has the same meaning?
                > thanks for reading.
                > have a nice day.
                >
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