A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

what’s in a phrase? enjoying puzzling expressions

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on May 18, 2007

The other day my friend H asked, tongue in cheek, if I was “enjoying my time” here in Salzburg.

H knows how much this expression makes me laugh – and also how frustrating I find it.

When people ask it of me, the question usually comes in two varieties:

the journalistic

“How are you enjoying your time in Lebanon/Beirut/Edde Sands/the Chouf?”

or the more basic

“Are you enjoying your time in Lebanon/the south/Gauche Caviar/AUB?”

As a question and a phrase, “enjoying your time” is a perfectly logical, if perplexing, mix of two English expressions:

“Are you enjoying yourself in Lebanon/Beirut/Hamra?”

“Are you having a good time in Lebanon /Faraya /Gemmayze?”

with an optional flavoring of the less common

“How do you spend your time in Lebanon/the downtown area/at the gym?”

I know how to answer each of these questions. But explaining whether – or how – I am ‘enjoying my time’ in a place is difficult. English doesn’t support the idea of “enjoying time”. Spending time, yes. Enjoying an experience, a meal, a sunset, or a ski trip, yes.

Nevertheless, I told H that I am indeed enjoying my time in Salzburg – whatever exactly that might mean :-).

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2 Responses to “what’s in a phrase? enjoying puzzling expressions”

  1. SparklePlenty said

    A great (if obscure!) example of the everpresent colloquialisms that sprinkle conversational English, enabling us to butcher language on a daily basis yet be perfectly understood. Is it lingustic evolution? Don’t be frustrated – be amused!

  2. intlxpatr said

    Ooooooh, Little Diamond . . . just lean back, take a deep breath and . . . enjoy your time!

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