put back - time
Posted: 05 November 2007 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  1360
Joined  2007-04-28

"Led Zeppelin’s reunion concert has been put back three weeks because of the guitarist injuring his finger” it was recently reported.
I remember a letter in Verbatim in pre-Internet days saying an usage like this should be “put forward” which seemed sensible to me.

“I was looking forward to their gig until it was put back.” Is this mixed up metaphorical thinking? In Western languages time always marches on and we look back into the past so what is going on here? I know many philosophers have compared time to a flowing river with time heading downstream. What do you think?

(I remember an intro to sociolinguistics by Peter Farb called Word Play in which he described a tribe who, in their language, viewed time literally visually and spoke of looking forward into the past because they could see everything in front of them i.e. the past is known and accessible to them, if you follow, whereas they looked back into the future which is invisible and unknown as in you can’t see what is behind you and what is going to happen there much as with the future. I’m sure Farb explained it better! I think it was part of his dismissal of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis about your language shaping how you view your world. Maybe not relevant to “put back” in the Led Zep sense, above, but interesting nonetheless I thought.)

Posted: 05 November 2007 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  3316
Joined  2007-01-31

The reference is not in respect to the direction of time, but rather to the change in proximity.  What had been closer is now farther way, hence it has been put or pushed back.

Posted: 06 November 2007 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  362
Joined  2007-03-05

Its still something I always have to think about ‘put back’ seems like the wrong way even though it isn’t

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