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  1. #1
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default Grammatical relations

    "We are traveling at breakneck speed into an age of the extremes – extremes in wealth and poverty, extremes in technology and the experiments that scientists want to perform, extreme forces of globalism, weapons of mass destruction and terrorists acting in the name of religion".

    Question: It seems the word "extremes" in the red part governs all the following, that is:

    Extreme force of globlism...
    extreme force of weapons of mass destruction AND
    extreme force terrorists acting in...

    If the above is the case, then an AND is often required before "extreme forces" (that is: extremes in wealth and poverty, extremes in technology and the experiments.. AND extreme forces of ...........) Am I right? Or in this kind of writing (not extremely formal), we can omit AND? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Grammatical relations

    In this kind of writing, "and" is not necessary. It is a stylistic technique, building tension in the sentence.

  3. #3
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Grammatical relations

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    In this kind of writing, "and" is not necessary. It is a stylistic technique, building tension in the sentence.
    Many thanks. For non-native speakers, this is always a problem, as we are taught that you have to use AND in this case.

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Grammatical relations

    It is like so many skills - you need to follow the rules until you are fluent in what you do. Then you can bend them!

  5. #5
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Grammatical relations

    Thanks.

  6. #6
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Grammatical relations

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    It is like so many skills - you need to follow the rules until you are fluent in what you do. Then you can bend them!
    Anglika,

    Happy New Year!

    But I need to revisit an old question that you replied to last time. I thought the word "forces links with all the three nouns (globalism, weapons of mass destruction and terrorists, that is forces of globalism, forces of weapons of mass destruction and forces of terrorists) and you agreed. I then asked you about the problem of AND and you replied that AND is not needed for stylistic reasons. That was the whole story. But recently another linguist was against this interpretation, saying that forces cannot be linked with weapons of mass destruction and terrorists. Could you take a look again? Thanks. The following is the whole paragraph:

    "We live on a small, beautiful and a totally isolated planet, but its population is becoming too large; enormous new consumer societies are growing, of which China is the largest; and technology is becoming powerful enough to wreck the planet. We are traveling at breakneck speed into an age of the extremes – extremes in wealth and poverty, extremes in technology and the experiments that scientists want to perform, extreme forces of globalism, weapons of mass destruction and terrorists acting in the name of religion. If we are to survive, we have to learn how to manage this situation."
    Last edited by ian2; 04-Jan-2008 at 18:47.

  7. #7
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Grammatical relations

    Happy new Year, Ian.

    I am a little lost as to what exactly the problem is.

    If you bracket the phrases as below, it is a list of different extremes. The extreme forces of globalism, WMD, and religious terrorism seem to me to be contained and linked. It is always possible for others to interpret the passage differently - this is my interpretation.

    ...[extremes in wealth and poverty], [extremes in technology and the experiments that scientists want to perform], [extreme forces of globalism, weapons of mass destruction and terrorists acting in the name of religion]. If we are to survive, we have to learn how to manage this situation."

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Grammatical relations

    I think Ian is asking whether "extreme forces of" applies only to globalism, or also to WMDs and terrorists.

    I think the answer is that globalism is a force, but that WMDs are weapons and terrorists are, well, terrorists.

    It's possible that the author may have intended:

    extreme forces of globalism,
    [extreme] weapons of mass destruction, and
    [extreme] terrorists.

    That's possible, although I personally would say that saying "extreme WMDs" is redundant, because I can't imagine that a weapon of mass destruction could be anything but extreme. I'd say that WMDs and terrorism are examples of extremes in their own right, without needing the word explicitly added.

    It probably doesn't matter. "Extreme" is repeated three times, which is a very good rhetorical device. But the effect of not prefacing WMDs and terrorists with the word "extreme" is that the sentence increases in tempo: it seems to get faster, highlighting the "breakneck speed" mentioned in the previous sentence. Imagine a speaker thumping the lectern as he delivers this speech: dramatic effect is more important here than being able to parse the sentence.

  9. #9
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Grammatical relations

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Happy new Year, Ian.

    I am a little lost as to what exactly the problem is.

    If you bracket the phrases as below, it is a list of different extremes. The extreme forces of globalism, WMD, and religious terrorism seem to me to be contained and linked. It is always possible for others to interpret the passage differently - this is my interpretation.

    ...[extremes in wealth and poverty], [extremes in technology and the experiments that scientists want to perform], [extreme forces of globalism, weapons of mass destruction and terrorists acting in the name of religion]. If we are to survive, we have to learn how to manage this situation."
    Anglika, Thanks again.

    As you can see, my original interpretation agrees with yours. I only had one hesitation at that time that there is no AND before the "extreme forces", which is the last phrase in a series of noun phrases, which you explained convincingly.

    Ian

  10. #10
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Grammatical relations

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    I think Ian is asking whether "extreme forces of" applies only to globalism, or also to WMDs and terrorists.

    I think the answer is that globalism is a force, but that WMDs are weapons and terrorists are, well, terrorists.

    It's possible that the author may have intended:

    extreme forces of globalism,
    [extreme] weapons of mass destruction, and
    [extreme] terrorists.

    That's possible, although I personally would say that saying "extreme WMDs" is redundant, because I can't imagine that a weapon of mass destruction could be anything but extreme. I'd say that WMDs and terrorism are examples of extremes in their own right, without needing the word explicitly added.

    It probably doesn't matter. "Extreme" is repeated three times, which is a very good rhetorical device. But the effect of not prefacing WMDs and terrorists with the word "extreme" is that the sentence increases in tempo: it seems to get faster, highlighting the "breakneck speed" mentioned in the previous sentence. Imagine a speaker thumping the lectern as he delivers this speech: dramatic effect is more important here than being able to parse the sentence.
    Rewboss:

    First Happy New Year!

    Thank you for your explanation, which allows both interpretations, which I think is even better. It is true that in the end there is no big deal to distinguish between the two interpretations, but as you know (as a translator), if this sentence was from a very formal document (say UN resolution), then the hairsplitting would be necessary. But your explanation is superb. I like this forum which always provides more professional answers. Thank you again.

    Ian

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