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  1. #1
    Hucky is offline Member
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    Default the different meaning or meanings of words

    An inquisitive learner asked the following polite question:

    Could you explain to me the different meaning of the two words road and avenue?

    What Iīd like to know in this context is this:

    1) Shouldnīt the noun meaning rather have a plural since the two words to be explained donīt have the same meaning.

    2) When I put it into the plural, wouldnīt it sound as if I had asked to explain the various secondary meanings (sub-meanings: literal and figurative)?

    How to get out of the dilemma? To render the intended sense, what more adequate dubbing can you think of? What about this one: Could you explain the difference in meaning between the two words road and avenue?

  2. #2
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    Route21 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: the different meaning or meanings of words

    Hi Hucky

    As a NES, but not a teacher, I believe what was meant by the original sentence was:

    "Could you explain to me the difference in meaning between the two words road and avenue?"

    This would have made the intent clear.

    As you say, using the plural word "meanings" would suggest that you were looking for synonyms for both of the individual words concerned.

    Hope this helps.
    R21

  3. #3
    Hucky is offline Member
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    Default Re: the different meaning or meanings of words

    Quote Originally Posted by Route21 View Post
    Hi Hucky

    As a NES, but not a teacher, I believe what was meant by the original sentence was:

    "Could you explain to me the difference in meaning between the two words road and avenue?"

    This would have made the intent clear.

    As you say, using the plural word "meanings" would suggest that you were looking for synonyms for both of the individual words concerned.

    Hope this helps.
    R21

    Dear Route21,

    Your hope has come to fruition. You really did help a lot! Thanks! Besides, it is, of course not, necessary to be a teacher to be able to give reasonable and valuable judgements about language. Apart from the fact that there are quite different kinds of teachers, the access of a non-philologist to his mother tongue is sometimes less impeded and biased. Just trust your linguistic instinct!

    May I still ask you how you understand the question with the singular noun: What is the different meaning between road and avenue?

    Yes, and before I forget, what is a NES? I tried to find the answer in an abbreviation dictionary. But none of the equivalents given there make sense here.

    Cheerio

    Hucky

  4. #4
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    Route21 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: the different meaning or meanings of words

    Hi Hucky

    The sentence "What is the different meaning between road and avenue?" doesn't work for me, as you would need to provide the meaning of each of the two words - which then sparks off your original comment about needing to use the plural form "meanings".

    Best regards
    R21
    PS "NES" stands for Native English Speaker - apologies.

  5. #5
    Hucky is offline Member
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    Default Re: the different meaning or meanings of words

    Quote Originally Posted by Route21 View Post
    Hi Hucky

    The sentence "What is the different meaning between road and avenue?" doesn't work for me, as you would need to provide the meaning of each of the two words - which then sparks off your original comment about needing to use the plural form "meanings".

    Best regards
    R21
    PS "NES" stands for Native English Speaker - apologies.
    Dear Route21

    As to the sentence, I just wanted to be on the safe side. Now you have taken away the slightest doubt. Thanks!

    And as to NES - really no need for any apologies! But it is an insider abbreviation, not an official one, right? So, people from the forum would understand it (now you can count me in). Is it still used anywhere else?

    Best greetings

    Hucky

  6. #6
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    Route21 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: the different meaning or meanings of words

    Hi Hucky

    The term "NES" is regularly used on this forum to indicate Native English Speakers who, whilst not specifically an English teacher, may be able to provide instant answers to many of what I would call the "non-technical" English queries.

    As an example, although I may have previous knowledge of Greek/Latin grammar, I would tend to leave the detailed analysis of accepted current English grammar to the many teachers on the forum. It's not my specialty/forté.

    Best regards
    R21

    PS. I don't believe I'd come across it before this forum.

  7. #7
    Hucky is offline Member
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    Default Re: the different meaning or meanings of words

    Quote Originally Posted by Route21 View Post
    Hi Hucky

    The term "NES" is regularly used on this forum to indicate Native English Speakers who, whilst not specifically an English teacher, may be able to provide instant answers to many of what I would call the "non-technical" English queries.

    As an example, although I may have previous knowledge of Greek/Latin grammar, I would tend to leave the detailed analysis of accepted current English grammar to the many teachers on the forum. It's not my specialty/forté.

    Best regards
    R21

    PS. I don't believe I'd come across it before this forum.
    Hiya Route21,

    I may assure you that everything has come across very well. I for one am more keen on the assessments from NESs - no matter if they are linguists or not. I donīt usually ask technical questions because that doensīt tend to be the problem. But even if you know the structures and rules of a foreign language, there still remains and will always remain something very crucial that cannot be acquired by way of language learning: the immediate access to language as a NSīs competence. Thatīs why a non-NS is always referred to NSs if he takes the matter seriously. In a word: Thanks again so much!

    Hucky

    PS And if I dare resommend you something, donīt have too much respect for teachers.

    PPS If you have some knowledge of Latin and Greek - who does nowadays? - linguistic structures are not all Greek to you!

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