I'll fall back on Webster ... http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/against ... but in the case of the wall it's "in the direction of AND into contact with" (my emphasis) ... which isn't quite the same thing as running TOWARD a reindeer. The primary definitions are 1) in opposition to (someone or something) and 2) in competition with (someone or something).
I think Arnauti's description works very well, and 'against' does seem as versatile in English but it still depends on context. A similar example could be when an army 'marches against the enemy'. Yes there is some opposition implied from this but I think it mostly implies a movement toward something.
Tack. I found this useful. I suspect it is only part of the answer but is helping me visualise this word better. What is the word for "away"? That would be a direction again but I am guessing you cannot also use mot or it would be most confusing as to where that darned wolf was running to!
It's more like a way of thinking about it that may be helpful. Some people just accept the idea that prepositions are weird and have to be learned by heart, but personally I like to have this kind of mental hooks to sort of hang the concepts from in my head. So I'm just suggesting it as a way of thinking of it.
'away' is bort (with direction) or borta (with location).
E.g. Hon är borta She's away (she's not here)
Hon springer bort 'She runs away' (moving away from here)
But there are more ways of saying 'run away': springa iväg ('run away', 'run off') or springa ifrån ('run from', 'outrun').
Tack. Yes I think it is likely to just take time for me. Time and repetition for pattern recognition. But that said, I am like you in that I like to have an idea of how or why a word works the way it does. Your explanation above definitely helped me to understand the intention or underlying meaning of "mot". Also a good explanation of "away'. It makes sense that there is several ways of expressing it!
'Mot' vs 'till' pleaee?
1.Ankan simmar till flickan.
- Ankan simmar mot flickan.
What is the difference?