Monday, July 12, 2010

Invisible Fencing? - Contronyms/Part Two



Dry stone walling is often counter-intuitive and filled with ambiguous concepts . The whole thing seems to attract contronyms and contronym phrases. For instance, if you were talking to someone who didn't know anything about walling, you might say " It's important when you are building a proper dry-laid wall, that everything fits tightly. There shouldn't be any movement. No rocks, no wiggles, no loose stones. And if you are really filling the inside of the wall with 'hearting' properly, you really can't use too many stones.”

After hearing that explanation, they may well ask , "Are we talking 'invisible fencing' here, or what? "

The implications are transparent ( do you mean not visible at all or very easy to see ?) Dry 'stonewalling' ( purposely hindering any progress, or conversely, trying to be productive?) is the technique of building a dry stane 'dyke' ( ditch or wall ? ) with stones 'held' in place ( without anyone actually holding them there ?) in such a way that they 'stand' ( that would be placed 'up right' or lying down ?) in the wall with the 'joint's ( are these connections or separations ?) staggered so that the everything is 'bound' (on its way ' to' somewhere or staying in the same place ?) and remains 'fast' and secure (is that without any running joints?) all the time, not using any mortar ( glue to keep it together or exploding devices to break it apart? ) so that when it's 'finished' ( totally fallen down or completed?) and when people stand 'overlooking' one( peering at it or completely ignoring it?) they think to themselves, this is 'awesome' (beautiful or merely frightening ) especially the more it 'weathers' (withstands the elements or just crumbles away?)

Is it all that mysterious that people don't understand what were talking about? We tell people we are 'dry wallers' and then we explain right away that we don't do 'dry wall', and that we actually don't stay very 'dry' either! It's no wonder people wonder. Let's hope that despite all the ambiguities of walling terminology contained in the English language, eventually people will begin to understand what it is we do.

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