Thursday, November 24, 2011

now now

Today I overheard a conversation at work during lunch time. One of our foreign (English 2nd language) interns asked the question: 'Can you please explain to me, what is the difference between 'now now', 'just now' and 'now'...(I think the expression 'now, now' is specific to South Africa.)?

This reminded me of my previous blog entry about time. So while I could hear the different attempts by my colleagues trying to explain the nuanced differences between those terms, I thought to myself, how amazing it is that there are three expressions to describe a very short difference in time. Interestingly, I would translate the expression 'now now' as the intention to do something almost immediately but quickly do something else before that. Instead of using 'just now' but repeating the word now, it is almost like a double affirmation that it will happen soonest. It also carries a little bit of naughtiness to stretch the period before the action takes place.
The above describes something similar to the word 'just' in the previous entry. I think it is hilarious how we use language to describe our perception and intention about time but hardly ever to describe real time..

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