KudoZ home » English » Idioms / Maxims / Sayings

A long ten minutes, a long year, a short five minutes, etc...

English translation: the speaker's personal perception.

Advertisement

Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
13:45 Jan 31, 2009
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Idioms / Maxims / Sayings / English colloquialisms
English term or phrase: A long ten minutes, a long year, a short five minutes, etc...
(Stones' Sympathy for the Devil) (...) Yeah, I've been around for a long, long year(...)/// waited for a short five minutes...///
FNO
English translation:the speaker's personal perception.
Explanation:
Minutes/ hours/ years can feel long or short, depending on the situation, or the person's perception.
For example, a minute's silence in a conversation between two people can feel like a very long minute, while as we know, time flies when you're having fun.
:-)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 mins (2009-01-31 13:57:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

So "I've been around for a long, long year" means that the speaker has been around for a year, but that the events of that year makes it seem to him like an eternity.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 day2 hrs (2009-02-01 15:56:11 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Please take note of Sheila and Tina's comments below.
:-)
Selected response from:

Nesrin
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:03
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
3 +7the speaker's personal perception.
Nesrin
4 +3seemed as if it lasted longer than it actually did
Tony M


  

Answers


12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
a long ten minutes, a long year, a short five minutes, etc...
seemed as if it lasted longer than it actually did


Explanation:
Usually, people say this when the time felt as if it had passed slowly (perhaps they had endless work to do, or were bored...)

In the case of a shorter period of time, like minutes, it can sometimes be meant more literally: "that was a long 10-minute coffee-break!" — implying it was perhaps more like 15 minutes. clearly this couldn't really usually be applied to 'year', since 'a year' is 'a year'...

'short', on the other hand means the opposite: the time seemd to fly by (perhaps we were enjoying ourselves, or the work was going well...). Likewise, can also have a literal meaning: "You said you'd be back to pick us up in 5 minutes, but that was a very short 5 minutes, we're not ready yet!" — suggesting it was maybe only 3 minutes.

It's all about perceived time, and how that corresponds — or doesn't — to actual time.

Tony M
France
Local time: 20:03
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 44

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Egil Presttun
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Egil!

agree  sueaberwoman: Hmmm...between 11 and 12 minutes... it seems our proz colleagues see that minute as an eternity, since no one has bothered to agree with you as well! ;o)
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Sue! ;-))

agree  Ken Cox: This is all idomatic usage, and it's difficult to describe all the possible meanings -- as a native speaker, you learn them from experience.
1 day17 mins
  -> Thanks, ken! Indeed, yes, it's all about native insitinct and 'feel', and there are many nuances of meaning
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +7
a long ten minutes, a long year, a short five minutes, etc...
the speaker's personal perception.


Explanation:
Minutes/ hours/ years can feel long or short, depending on the situation, or the person's perception.
For example, a minute's silence in a conversation between two people can feel like a very long minute, while as we know, time flies when you're having fun.
:-)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 mins (2009-01-31 13:57:36 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

So "I've been around for a long, long year" means that the speaker has been around for a year, but that the events of that year makes it seem to him like an eternity.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 day2 hrs (2009-02-01 15:56:11 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Please take note of Sheila and Tina's comments below.
:-)

Nesrin
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:03
Native speaker of: Arabic
PRO pts in category: 12
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Tony M: Nicely put!
1 min
  -> Merci!

agree  Sheila Wilson: Certainly a matter of perception, although in a song it may also refer to many years
16 mins
  -> Thanks - I had no idea it was from a song, but having looked at the lyrics, that may be the meaning here.

agree  Jack Doughty
33 mins

agree  Egil Presttun
1 hr

agree  Tina Vonhof: Agree with Sheila: it could indeed mean 'a long, long time' . I don't know the song but maybe 'year' was used to make it rhyme with something?
7 hrs
  -> Agreed, thanks. I just looked at the lyrics, no it doesn't rhyme with anything, but it appears to mean "years" here.

agree  Phong Le
21 hrs

agree  Ken Cox: With Shiela and Tina: in the specific instance of 'a long, long year', it means many years (poetic language)
1 day16 mins
  -> Thanks, agreed.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


Changes made by editors
Jan 31, 2009 - Changes made by Tony M:
LevelPRO » Non-PRO


KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.



See also:



Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search