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Hi,
I'm reading "A Sand County Almanac", written by Aldo Leopold (AmE, 1950s). I have some problems with the following sentences, where "split-rail" is being used. Before posting here I looked for [url=http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=split-rail&r=66 ]"split-rail"[/url], of course, and I've learnt it's a [url=]kind of fence[/url]. However, I still don't get what it means in these sentences.

It seems that split-rail and man-earth experiences have zero or plus values, but that ethical experiences may have minus values as well ... The pioneer period gave birth to two ideas that are the essence of split-rail value in outdoor sports. One is the 'go-light' idea, the other the 'one-bullet-one-buck idea'.

The net trend, however,is clearly toward more and more mechanization, with a corresponding shrinkage in cultural values, especially split-rail values and ethical restraints.


Thank you in advance!
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Marius, your link explains split-rail fences. The original poster already knew about split-rail fences, and that doesn't help explain the use of "split-rail values" in the quote from "Sand County Almanac." I have no idea what the author meant -- when I googled "split-rail values," I was referred to this thread! -- but I don't think further explanation of split-rail fences helps.
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I suppose it could be a colourful metaphor for rural values.
Khoff ... doesn't help explain the use of "split-rail values" in the quote from "Sand County Almanac."
Thank you, Khoff, that's exactly my problem!
Feebs11I suppose it could be a colourful metaphor for rural values.
Thank you too, Feebs. I guess it might be.
I'll go on reading ... maybe at the very last page I'll find a definition Emotion: smile or maybe somebody will add their thoughts here Emotion: smile
Usually, I think a post that says "I don't know" isn't very helpful - well, I still think it's not helpful - but it should serve to comfort you that it's not due to a lack of English skills that you're confused! I have NO idea what that means.
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Hi guys,

After looking at the context, I'll offer a wild guess. Do you think that 'split-rail' may be an intentional or unintentional mis-spelling / distortion of the word 'spiritual'?

Best wishes, Clive
Well, this is weird. The whole passage sees so obscure to me, I thought I'd find it in the book and see if it made nay more sense in a broader context. I went to Amazon to "search inside" Sand County Almanac. It did not find any instances of the phrase "split-rail." I searched for many other phrases in the quote posted here, and could not find the passage that Tanit quoted. Mysteriouser and mysteriouser. (No, "mysteriouser" is not really a word.)

Clive, if you think "split-rail" might be a mangling of "spiritual", what do you make of "man-earth experiences"? (Maybe "man-eating pier rats"?)

(I don't mean to make fun of your idea -- I suppose it's possible that the author used "split-rail" as some metaphor for "spiritual," but it still doesn't make much sense.)
Okay, here we go. I went back to Amazon and searched inside a different edition of the book. A couple of pages before the passage quoted, the author says "First there is value in any experience that reminds us of our distinctive national origins and evolution . . . for lack of any other short name, I shall call this, in our case, the "split-rail value."

So, it's really just a specialized us of the term that the author made up, to refer to reminders of American social history. He's just using "split-rail" (like the fences) as a symbol of American history and culture. (Sorry, Clive, nothing spiritual about it!)
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