Земля под нашими ногами

Не всегда легко подобрать правильное слово, когда речь заходит о земле. Дело в том, что одно русское слово в разных его значениях соответствует сразу четырём английским. Попробуем разобраться, в чём разница между "ground", "earth", "land" и "soil".


Слово "ground" употребляется в тех случаях, когда речь идёт о твёрдой поверхности земли, по которой мы ходим, или о территории. Вот что даёт нам словарь:

  1. (often the ground) the solid surface of the earth
  2. I found her lying on the ground.
    He lost his balance and fell to the ground.
    2 metres above / below ground
    Most of the monkeys' food is found at ground level.
    He flung his bike to the ground and rushed inside.

  3. soil on the surface of the earth
  4. fertile ground for planting crops
    soft ground

  5. area of open land
  6. a piece of ground where the kids play
    The kids were playing on waste ground behind the school.

ground.jpgtick-sign_0.jpg"It is apparent that no lifetime is long enough in which to explore the resources of a few square yards of ground." (Alice M. Coats)

tick-sign_0.jpg"I refuse to have an emotional attachment to a piece of ground. At one end of the scale it's called patriotism, at the other end of the scale it's called gardening." (Bob Shaw)

tick-sign_0.jpg"There is nothing pleasanter than spading when the ground is soft and damp." (John Steinbeck)


Слово "earth" применимо тогда, когда мы говорим о планете. Вот словарная дефиниция:

  1. (also Earth, the Earth) the world; the planet that we live on
  2. the planet Earth
    the history of life on earth
    the earth's ozone layer
    The earth revolves around the sun.
    I must be the happiest person on earth!

  3. land; the hard surface of the world that is not the sea or the sky; the ground
  4. After a week at sea, it was good to feel the earth beneath our feet again.
    You could feel the earth shake as the truck came closer.

Хотя это слово может использоваться и относительно поверхности земли - но не твёрдой её части, а мягкой. Другими словами, оно употребимо, когда речь идёт о выращивании чего-то, особенно в поэтическом контексте.

earth.jpgtick-sign_0.jpg"To dig in one's own earth, with one's own spade, does life hold anything better?" (Beverly Nichols)

tick-sign_0.jpg"Earth, thou great footstool of our God, who reigns on high; thou fruitful source of all our raiment, life, and food; our house, our parent, and our nurse." (Isaac Watts)

tick-sign_0.jpg"The poetry of the earth is never dead." (John Keats)

Такое употребление более свойственно британскому английскому, в то время как некоторые американцы (те, которые далеки от садоводства) иногда называют землю в огороде или в цветочном горшке "dirt":

We filled a few trays with earth/dirt and planted the seeds.


Слово "land" уместно тогда, когда речь идёт о суше. Оно также употребляется применительно к пейзажу, ландшафту и участку земли. Вот что говорит нам словарь про него:

  1. the surface of the earth that is not sea
  2. It was good to be back on land.
    We made the journey by land, though flying would have been cheaper.
    In the distance the crew sighted land.
    The elephant is the largest living land animal.

  3. (also lands) an area of ground, especially of a particular type or used for a particular purpose
  4. fertile / arid / stony land
    flat / undulating / hilly land
    agricultural / arable / industrial land
    The land was very dry and hard after the long, hot summer.
    The land rose to the east.
    a piece of waste / derelict land
    Some of the country's richest grazing lands are in these valleys.

land.jpgtick-sign_0.jpg"The land is a mother that never dies." (Maori Proverb)

tick-sign_0.jpg"The land now desolate will be tilled, instead of lying waste for every passer-by to see. Everyone will say that this land which was waste has now become like a Garden of Eden." (Ezekiel 36:34-35)

tick-sign_0.jpg"The farther we get away from the land, the greater our insecurity." (Henry Ford)


И, наконец, "soil". Слово применительно в отношении садоводства, когда речь идёт о качестве или типе почвы. "Soil" - это то, что мы покупаем в пакетах, чтобы посадить растения или семена, и то, в чём растут деревья и цветы. Но не только. Цитирую словарь:

  1. the top layer of the earth in which plants, trees, etc. grow
  2. poor / dry / acid / sandy soil
    fertile / rich / productive soil
    the study of rocks and soils
    soil erosion
    These plants prefer alkaline soil.

  3. (literary) a country; an area of land
  4. It was the first time I had set foot on African soil.

soil.jpgtick-sign_0.jpg"The golden rule of gardening is to pay attention to local conditions of weather and soil." (Carol Williams)

tick-sign_0.jpg"Most of all one discovers that the soil does not stay the same, but, like anything alive, is always changing and telling its own story. Soil is the substance of transformation." (Carol Williams)

tick-sign_0.jpg"There is a great pleasure in working in the soil, apart from the ownership of it. The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the world." (Charles Dudley Warner, 1870)

Таким образом, поверхность земли, которая не является ни морем, ни небом, можно назвать "earth", "land" or "ground":

The parachute floated gently down to earth.
We did not see land again until the ship reached Australia.
a plane 2 500 feet above the ground.

tick-sign_0.jpg"The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth. Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. The birds that flew into the air came to rest upon the earth and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing." (Chief Luther Standing Bear)

Надеюсь, вы разобрались. Проверим? Winking

Интересно, какой из четырёх вариантов вы бы употребили в этом предложении:

The ... in the south of Vietnam is very rich and fertile.

Обсуждение здесь. Кстати, там же вы найдёте ещё примеры употребления интересующей нас лексики.

А в этом:

I busy myself gardening, working and improving the ...

Обсуждение здесь, а вот ответ, который мне понравился больше всех:

I would use improving the soil in a gardening or farming context, if you mean that you are augmenting the soil in order to make the plants/crops grow better. You could also say improving the land if you mean that you are building barns on it, draining swampy areas, adding access roads, or other things to make your land more valuable. Earth could be substituted for soil, but it's usually used in a more poetic context, for example: I love to feel the cool earth under my bare feet when I work in my garden.

Dirt is what you wash off of your car or wipe off of your shoes, not what you grow plants in--and not something that can be improved. However, dirt is commonly used by non-gardeners to describe what is in a garden or flower pot.

Как мы с вами увидели, во многих случаях слова являются взаимозаменяемыми, при этом каждое обладает своей спецификой. Очень многое здесь определяется общепринятостью и частотностью употребления того или иного сочетания слов (см. примеры выше).

Словарь, на который я ссылалась в этой заметке:

Oxford Advanced Learner`s Dictionary Oxford Advanced Learner`s Dictionary

А здесь вы найдёте целую коллекцию цитат о земле, некоторые из которых я позаимствовала для иллюстрации различий: www.gardendigest.com.

P.S. Заметка принимает участие в галерее праздников "Earth Day".