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  1. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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    #1

    Relative clause used in a long sentence

    Even more thought provoking is that fact that, at this point in their development, children are immensely ignorant of the kinds of knowledge that become so important in later life for passing exams, earning money and preparing food. Yet they can put together highly complicated sentences, with only small deviations from what adults do. The system of knowledge they have is developed to such an extent that it far outstrips any other aspect of their cognitive development which is not obviously instinctual (vision, locomotion, eye-contact, using emotional responses to control their environment).
    What is 'which is not obviously instinctual' pointing to? cognitive development like vision, locomotion, etc? or the linguistic 'knowledge' of putting together complicated sentences? Just by reading the paragraph I woud go for the former, but I thought vision / locomotion / others mentioned are quite obviously instinctual, contrary to what the paragraph says. If 'which is not obviously instinctual' refers to the linguistic knowledge, that would make more sense but would be contrary to my knowledge of English grammar.

    I would very much appreciate your inputs.

    - HKB


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    #2

    Re: Relative clause used in a long sentence

    any other aspect of their cognitive development which is not obviously instinctual (vision, locomotion, eye-contact, using emotional responses to control their environment)

    It is referring to the bracketed list.


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    #3

    Re: Relative clause used in a long sentence

    The system of knowledge they have is developed to such an extent that it far outstrips any other aspect of their cognitive development. That development does not include obviously instinctual cognitive development of vision, locomotion, eye-contact or using emotional responses to control their environment. It does, however, include some other, not obviously instinctual development.

  2. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Relative clause used in a long sentence

    Hmm, that's what I thought, at least I feel more secure about my knowledge of English grammar. (Thank you, Anglika) But the question still remains: I thought all in the bracketed list are quite instinctual to human. Perhaps the meaning of the word 'instinctual' isn't what I think it is??

    - HKB

    Edit: IvanV has posted just before I wrote this and it seems that his interpretation makes a lot of sense. Would anyone want to confirm / deny his answer?
    Last edited by HaraKiriBlade; 27-Jan-2008 at 01:31.


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    #5

    Re: Relative clause used in a long sentence

    Initially I thought that, but then as I looked at it more carefully, it seems to me that the author is referring to those controlled uses of apparently instinctual behaviour - for instance, eye contact can be a deliberate action. The last in the list is clearly deliberate use of something.


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    #6

    Re: Relative clause used in a long sentence

    Vision, locomotion, eye-contact, using emotional responses to control their environment all deliberate.

    The system of knowledge has nothing to do with those deliberate actions, which gives us the idea that these children are very advanced. They have passed that development, and are now 'focused' on the development of other cognitive segments which are not common to 'regular' children.

    I might have misinterpreted this text due to the lack of context.
    EDIT: If the text was about 'regular' children from the beginning, then we can exclude the red parts and still get the picture.

  3. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Relative clause used in a long sentence

    If this is a sentence two native speakers of English would argue about in terms of what it actually says, then I take it the sentence isn't well-constructed? I took it from my 3rd year syntax textbook - I should perhaps send the author a letter and ask what he's really trying to say?

    I'll provide a few more sentences after the initially quoted, see if this clarifies the ambiguity. (I'm not too excited with the idea of sending a letter to the author)


    But this knowledge hasn't been taught to them by anyone. In fact, the idea of teaching one year old children that sentences are constructed out of subjects and predicates, or that they involve putting together nouns, verbs, and other things in particular way, is absurd. In many senses, this tacit knowledge is far more like instinct than it is like other kinds of knowledge.
    - HKB


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    #8

    Re: Relative clause used in a long sentence

    No, the sentence is correct, but it's the context I'm mainly interested in. However, this should not be the text for a syntax textbook, I thought you were interfering with something related to cerebral development of kids...

  4. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Relative clause used in a long sentence

    ...I have no doubt that the sentence itself is correct. Whether it delivers the intended meaning clearly is another matter. That's what I meant by the sentence not 'well-constructed'.

    Actually this book covers very broad areas concerning language, including the the 'innateness' (if there exists such a word) of knowledge of language among children and the deveopmental problems concerning language acquisition. If this textbook covered only simple meta-linguistic aspect of syntax, it would've made my life a lot easier.


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    #10

    Re: Relative clause used in a long sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by HaraKiriBlade View Post
    Actually this book covers very broad areas concerning language, including the the 'innateness' (if there exists such a word) of knowledge of language among children and the developmental problems concerning language acquisition. If this textbook covered only simple meta-linguistic aspect of syntax, it would've made my life a lot easier.
    Innateness - the quality of being innate. But then I'm not sure what does 'innateness of knowledge of language' mean. How can any 'real' knowledge be possessed at birth?
    (This certainly isn't something we should discuss, but anyways...)

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