Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I found a sentence in one story.

According to the records of Reverend General Vicar of Leiria, one of the eyewitnesses, the lady came in an ‘aeroplane of light, an immense globe, flying westwards, at moderate speed. It radiated a very bright light’.

Does it mean an aeroplane which is full of light around it?

share|improve this question
    
@Chenmunka context added in my answer. –  Maulik V Apr 17 at 9:54
    
@svick thanks for editing! –  Lincoln Apr 17 at 13:40
add comment

2 Answers 2

Very good question +1. This is interesting because the story talks about aeroplane of light followed by an immense globe.

I guess it's full of light around it, as you think.

That's because the whole story (Fatima, the secret) is based on supernatural things and sightings. The airplane of light was the second event and if you read the first event, it mentions entity landing from the sky in globe of light.

Here is the whole paragraph:

A diversity of other encounters then took place with the fifth meeting held in the same location on September 13. There were a growing number of witnesses, and they observed an unidentified ‘sphere of light’ used by the ‘entity’ to fly in and land at the place of the meeting. According to the records of Reverend General Vicar of Leiria, one of the eyewitnesses, the lady came in an ‘aeroplane of light, an immense globe, flying westwards, at moderate speed. It radiated a very bright light’. Other witnesses described a fair-headed young lady ‘more beautiful than any woman they had ever seen’ step from the landed globe through an oval door, into which, several minutes later she re-entered and silently flew away, disappearing in the direction of the sun.

The early event is described this way:

The crowd that gathered outside Fatima was waiting for a marvel because three illiterate children had been promised that such an event would take place after five earlier visitations with an ‘entity’ who landed from the sky in a ‘globe of light’ and psychically spoke to them. The witnesses were three shepherd children, Jacinta Martos, aged seven, his sister, Francesco Martos, nine, and their cousin, Lucia Dos Santos, aged ten, and a series of strange discourses between the ‘entity’ and the children first began on May 13

share|improve this answer
add comment

Normally, the construction "<object> of <substance>" in English would be understood as describing an <object> composed of (or, at least, appearing to be composed of) <substance>.

(At least, this would be the default interpretation unless some other, more plausible interpretation overrode it. One such case would be if the object mentioned was a container suitable for storing or transporting the substance: a "cup of coffee" would normally be understood as describing a cup filled with coffee (or the amount of coffee needed to fill one cup), not a cup made of coffee. On the other hand, a "box of steel" would generally be taken to describe the material the box is made out of, while a "box of chocolate" would more likely describe its contents. Basically, given two (or more) possible interpretations of a phrase, we normally choose the one that seems to make the most sense in context; this is not limited to English, or to this particular construction.)

Thus, in a literal sense an "aeroplane of light" would describe an aeroplane made out of pure light. Of course, such a concept, taken literally, would be nonsensical, so one would normally assume that the phrase is intended to be merely descriptive or perhaps metaphorical: that is to say, that it refers to something that looks like, or in some other (possibly obscure) sense resembles, an aeroplane made out of light, even if it might not actually be a real aeroplane, or really made out of light.

Indeed, the full context confirms that this seems to be the most likely interpretation:

"According to the records of Reverend General Vicar of Leiria, one of the eyewitnesses, the lady came in an ‘aeroplane of light, an immense globe, flying westwards, at moderate speed. It radiated a very bright light’."

It appears that the speaker being quoted is trying to describe a strange phenomenon for which he has no precise words, so he's describing it by what it resembled to him. From context, it's clear that he isn't describing a real aeroplane — real planes are not "immense globes" — but something that behaved like an aeroplane, in the sense that it flew like an aeroplane (and, apparently, carried a person inside it). It is also described as radiating "a very bright light", such that, even if it was not in fact made purely out of light, that light was the only part of it that could be seen.

Thus, the strange object being described is sort of like an "aeroplane [made out] of light" — it was big, it flew, it carried a person inside it, and the only thing the speaker could tell about its substance is that it shone a very bright light, as if that was all it was made of.

share|improve this answer
    
Thank you! I think your answer makes sense more than another. –  Lincoln Apr 18 at 9:23
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.