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Expression talk:narrow

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This article (narrow) needs attention because:
Badly written Definition
It has been added to this category for attention. Thank you for your patience.


I pestered Dvortygirl into rewriting the Definition of narrow on enwikt, and this is what she came up with: having a small width; not wide; slim; slender; having opposite edges or sides that are close, especially by comparison to length or depth. Should we rephrase the Definition here in a similar manner --Sannab 18:48, 10 September 2006 (CEST)

slim and slender are synonyms.. having a small width; not wide; having opposite edges or sides that are close, especially by comparison to length or depth. would be better. GerardM 18:50, 10 September 2006 (CEST)

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This article (narrow) needs attention because:
The english DM does not translate well, I've added an alternate DM, suggesting it to possibly be refined, and replace the original DM
It has been added to this category for attention. Thank you for your patience.

I think that the alternative definition mentioned is this one:

Having little distance between two of its sides.

I think it's very nice. I was just thinking something like that having read the comments above. Maybe it could be refined as:

Having relatively much less distance in one direction than in the others.

Another thing is that narrow brings in (my) mind a pass or gorge through a mountain or a doorway; something open that has walls aside. Above slim and slender have been given as synonyms for narrow but they don't give the same sense of openness. Maybe the definition should be further refined or another DM is needed. --Mikalaari 16:14, 15 September 2006 (CEST)

Thinking again the definition by Dvortygirl already includes the one I gave. The association to hollow things, however, is something to consider. Could someone tell which adjectives are used for a door, a chimney, a flue*, a mountain pass, a pencil and a car which are less wide than usually? --Mikalaari 11:49, 16 September 2006 (CEST)

for clarity, MW says a flue is "an enclosed passageway for directing a current: as a : a channel in a chimney for conveying flame and smoke to the outer air b : a pipe for conveying flame and hot gases around or through water in a steam boiler c : an air channel leading to the lip of a wind instrument d : FLUE PIPE" László 12:08, 16 September 2006 (CEST)

Description examples of non large things[edit]

Description of things less wide than usual
language door mountain pass chimney flue car pencil human
Finnish kapea kapea kapea kapea kapea ohut
Italian stretto stretto stretto stretto stretto sottile, fine
Dutch smal smal, nauw smal, nauw smal, nauw smal, klein dun dun, smal
English narrow narrow narrow, small, little slim
German outside view schmal schmal dünn,  (schlank) dünn klein, schmal dünn schlank, dünn, dürr
German inside view eng, schmal eng, schmal eng, schmal, dünn eng, dünn eng, schmal, klein - -
Kölsch outside view schmal schmal dönn, schmal eng, dönn klëij, eng, schmal dönn schmal, dönn, (schlangk)
Kölsch inside view eng, schmal eng, schmal eng, schmal, dönn eng, dönn eng, klëij, schmal - dönn, schlangk, schmal

Squeezing matters[edit]

In Dutch, the used word differs depending on how narrow something is. Something that you move through, such as a mountain pass or a chimney, can be "smal", but once it gets so narrow that you can't get through it without touching either or both sides, it becomes "nauw". The same goes for mountain passes and chimneys. This poses an interesting point: a chimney may be "smal", but once Santa has to squeeze himself through to deliver presents, for him it is "nauw".

Similary to that, in German (and Kölsch) you use different word sets depending on the technical possibility or the potential of squeezing, which mainly relate to your standpoint as a speaker, but also to your emotional engagement with the person or object being possibly squeezed. In Kölsch unlike German, persons talking about themselves follow the view from inside rule.

Another point in Dutch: something that is much smaller in one direction than in another, such as this chimney, would be called "langwerpig" (of an elongated shape) or "hoog" (tall, when standing) / "lang" (long, when lying) in Dutch, while the same chimney would be called narrow in English, I believe. So stress is changed from the small dimension to the big one.

I'd like to keep the concept of being too narrow out of this discussion. The concept that is essential in thin or narrow is that something has a minor width than usually, not that it "disturbs" in some way.
Lets consider an ordinary car and then imagine an otherwise similar car except being half the width. How would it be described looking from outside? Hollow or open things can be considered in similar manner without worrying about aspects like being tight or uncomfortable.
I'd say that eng and nauw, for example, would be eliminated with this kind of process. It would be intersting to see what remains when these words have been removed. --Mikalaari 13:11, 16 September 2006 (CEST)
The German/Kölsch eng only loose some subjective aspects, when you leave comfortability out.
Consider a tight pair of pants. It is eng, as long as you can get your leg in; zu eng, (too tight) if you cannot get your leg in; and in Kölsch, you have two meanings to mir zo eng (too tight for me) pronounced differently: (a) you feel you don't want to squeeze your leg in, no matter whether or not that would be successfully possible, and (b) matter-of-factly stating that your leg does not fit in, be it true or not. --Purodha Blissenbach 14:14, 16 September 2006 (CEST)
In any of the cases Purodha has explained above, "eng" does not appear to me as an expression I was looking for: something that is merely less wide than in the normal or usual case. "Eng", or English "tight", would be better defined as something that stays close or touches (just a quick example definition). --Mikalaari 12:54, 17 September 2006 (CEST)
deu:'eng' does not match you quick definition. It's a broader term than that. The words eng/schmal cannot be distinguished by meaning, because their mening is largely identical. So are eng/dünn. Their distinction of focus of the speaker, not meaning. It is like the well known picture where you see a vase or two opposite faces - when your perspective changes, your words do, too.
When the perspective changes, so does the concept (and thus sometimes the word, too). As the concept changes, the same definition does not apply. ;-)
Could you please look at the "recept" I wrote above, consider a normal car and the same car after a wizard has magically squeezed it in half the width it used to be (with his graphical software, maybe). The length and height remain as before. With what adjective would you describe the squeezed car in respect to the one before any magic done? The car can be replaced by any other object. --Mikalaari 11:44, 18 September 2006 (CEST)
It is schmäler (from schmal) if your are outside. Its inside is considerably enger (from eng) but even if you're sitting inside, you can as well say is became nur halb so breit (half as wide only) as before, or um die Hälfte schmaler (narrower by the half - see that this comparison uses schmaler, not schmäler, as the one before did), and thus it is schmäler and kleiner than it has been before, thus it is likely also schmal, eng and klein. (klein has no explicit directionality or dimensionality, eng and schmal do, so 'klein and kleiner in this conect go with volume)
I'd say Kölsch resembles German in word use here, only that the Kölsch more likely choose the subjective terms than the average German, when there is a choice.
The car can be replaced by any object, that offers an 'inside view'. Solid Objects that do not offer one (note that e.g. human bodies do, at least in Kölsch, even though they are solid!) usually lack the notion of 'eng'. --Purodha Blissenbach 13:24, 18 September 2006 (CEST)