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  1. #1
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default question

    The sentences:

    Our fairy-tales, with their helpful animals, talking birds and wise reptiles are fossilized remains of a period when animals took equal place with man and were sometimes messengers or servants of the hidden gods. So today it may be seen a great many of our superstitions about birds and animals are based on their supposed wisdom, cunning or magical powers rather than their inferiority in the scheme of things.

    Question#1:

    About their helpful animals, talking birds and wise reptiles, my book says talking birds and wise reptiles are the restatement of helpful animals (i.e. apposition). Is it really true? To me, in this particular case, animals are different from birds and reptiles, and they are just a series of creatures.

    Question#2:

    About "cunning", is it a noun, or an adjective modifying "powers"?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: question

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    The sentences:

    Our fairy-tales, with their helpful animals, talking birds and wise reptiles are fossilized remains of a period when animals took equal place with man and were sometimes messengers or servants of the hidden gods. So today it may be seen a great many of our superstitions about birds and animals are based on their supposed wisdom, cunning or magical powers rather than their inferiority in the scheme of things.

    Question#1:

    About their helpful animals, talking birds and wise reptiles, my book says talking birds and wise reptiles are the restatement of helpful animals (i.e. apposition). Is it really true? To me, in this particular case, animals are different from birds and reptiles, and they are just a series of creatures.

    Question#2:

    About "cunning", is it a noun, or an adjective modifying "powers"?
    [1] 'animals' is often used, albeit erroneously, as an umbrella term for non-humans. Aside from that though, if the phrase in question functions as an appositive, we'd expect (a) a coma after 'wise reptiles', and b) the writer to continue on with the appositive meaning. That is, the writer later states, "superstitions about birds and animals" (i.e., birds are separate from animals). With regards to the author of the textbook, given that we do not have the context you have, it wouldn't be very professional of us to comment on whether the author is correct or incorrect. All we can do is offer responses based on the distributional facts presented to us.

    [2] Note the modifier 'their'. It's a pronoun. Pronouns modify nouns (i.e., their wisdom, cunning or powers). :wink:

  3. #3
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: question

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    That is, the writer later states, "superstitions about birds and animals" (i.e., birds are separate from animals).
    Yes. That's why I think it's just a series of creatures, not apposition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    With regards to the author of the textbook, given that we do not have the context you have, it wouldn't be very professional of us to comment on whether the author is correct or incorrect. All we can do is offer responses based on the distributional facts presented to us.
    My book translates it as "helpful animals like talking animals and wise reptiles" in Japanese. I think it's wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    [2] Note the modifier 'their'. It's a pronoun. Pronouns modify nouns (i.e., their wisdom, cunning or powers). :wink:
    Yes. But I've seen lots of times that in mythical or religious context animals are described as having cunning powers. So I posted this question.

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    Default Re: question

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    That is, the writer later states, "superstitions about birds and animals" (i.e., birds are separate from animals).
    Yes. That's why I think it's just a series of creatures, not apposition.
    Good eye!

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    With regards to the author of the textbook, given that we do not have the context you have, it wouldn't be very professional of us to comment on whether the author is correct or incorrect. All we can do is offer responses based on the distributional facts presented to us.
    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    My book translates it as "helpful animals like talking animals and wise reptiles" in Japanese. I think it's wrong.
    Hmm. The translations are different. :? (It would be helpful if you could give exactly what the text says.) With regards to "helpful animals like talking animals and wise reptiles", like refers to one thing, whereas such refers to more than one thing. Given the author uses 'like', I'd say 'helpful animals refers to the talking kind (i.e., 'talking animals'), and not to 'wise reptiles':

    ..helpful animals [like, talking animals] and reptiles.


    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    [2] Note the modifier 'their'. It's a pronoun. Pronouns modify nouns (i.e., their wisdom, cunning or powers). :wink:
    Yes. But I've seen lots of times that in mythical or religious context animals are described as having cunning powers. So I posted this question.
    cunning can function as a noun or an adjective. It has a dual function. Evidence that it's functioning as a noun in our example is as follows:

    wisdom, cunning or powers. (noun, noun or noun) :wink:

  5. #5
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: question

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Hmm. The translations are different. :? (It would be helpful if you could give exactly what the text says.)
    In Japanese?? I save it for now because nobody but you would understand it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    like refers to one thing
    What??? I've heard like "like you and I" quite often. I don't believe that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    cunning can function as a noun or an adjective. It has a dual function. Evidence that it's functioning as a noun in our example is as follows:

    wisdom, cunning or powers. (noun, noun or noun) :wink:
    Structurally, isn't it possible to interpret as (noun, [adj or adj] noun)? Note, I mean "structurally".

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    Default Re: question

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Hmm. The translations are different. :? (It would be helpful if you could give exactly what the text says.)
    In Japanese?? I save it for now because nobody but you would understand it.
    Given that new information (i.e., both the paragraph and the quoted line ("helpful animals...." were translations of yours), it's important, if not an imperative, that you state for the reader that you're providing two possible translations that you wrote). :D

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    like refers to one thing
    What??? I've heard like "like you and I" quite often. I don't believe that.
    You're right. I wouldn't have believed that either if I saw it worded that way. Sorry. My point was in reference to compatibility.

    Please Click Here: like vs. such. Notably, HarperCollins; Fowler; Fowllet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    cunning can function as a noun or an adjective. It has a dual function. Evidence that it's functioning as a noun in our example is as follows:

    wisdom, cunning or powers. (noun, noun or noun) :wink:
    Structurally, isn't it possible to interpret as (noun, [adj or adj] noun)? Note, I mean "structurally".
    cunning (powers) or magical powers (OK structurally, but meaning-wise, well, I can't help but ask, Why one or the other (i.e., cunning powers or magical powers)? Why not both? That is, the semantic extension, cunning as a synonym for magical has me confused. If that's the author's intention, then adj or adj fits the structure; if that's not the author's intention, then noun or adjective noun fits the structure.

    By the way, if it's a book about English grammar that you're reading, even if it's in Japanese, the examples are in English, otherwise how would you know what the author is pointing to when s/he says here's an example of apposition in English? If, however, there isn't an example, then providing the exact quote, (i.e., in Japanese) would be beneficial. :wink:

  7. #7
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: question

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    You're right. I wouldn't have believed that either if I saw it worded that way. Sorry. My point was in reference to compatibility.

    Please Click Here: like vs. such. Notably, HarperCollins; Fowler; Fowllet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    like refers to one thing, whereas such refers to more than one thing. Given the author uses 'like', I'd say 'helpful animals refers to the talking kind (i.e., 'talking animals'), and not to 'wise reptiles'
    Consider:

    Japanese manufacturers like Honda and Toyota have continued to increase their investments in US manufacturing facilities...

    http://www.carprices.com/cgi-bin/art...?name=a29.html

    Honda and Toyota are Japanese manufacturers. In the same way, talking birds and wise reptiles are helpful animals in our fairy-tales (yes! wise reptiles as well! They might help humans as a wise man gives us wise advice). Therefore, IMO, there is nothing wrong with saying "helpful animals like talking birds and wise reptiles" to mean that they are both helpful animals, unless you are, in Bernstein's terms, a "nit-picker".


    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    By the way, if it's a book about English grammar that you're reading, even if it's in Japanese, the examples are in English, otherwise how would you know what the author is pointing to when s/he says here's an example of apposition in English? If, however, there isn't an example, then providing the exact quote, (i.e., in Japanese) would be beneficial. :wink:


    It has the original sentences in English and their translation in Japanese. The sentences are not given as an example of apposition in the book, but the translation shows that the translator took it as apposition.
    --------
    UsingEnglish.com is for everybody. The discussion here has to be open for everyone. So I don't like to bring anything here which only a few would understand, anything in Japanese (except a simple word like arigato or sensei).

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