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  1. #1
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default For the most part

    Thanks in advacne:



    "Black Britons can't bring centuries of white guilt to bear with the devastating impact that African-Americans have done for two generations. For the most part, we have been here for less than 60 years."

    Can we translate “part” into number to interpret “for the most part” as “most of us”? In other words, we as a whole is a whole pie and those who have been here for less than 60 years constitute only a part of the pie. If this works, then students understand the sentence better. The phrase can be translated into “in general” too, but that doesn’t help understanding.

    OK. If the above works, can we use the same method to explain “part” in the following “There's also a part of me that feels indignant on behalf of my Caribbean slave ancestors”. I can hardly translate “part” here into a physical part of the body. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: For the most part

    Black Britons can't bring centuries of white guilt to bear with the devastating impact that African-Americans have done for two generations. For the most part, we have been here for less than 60 years.

    '(F)or the most part' above means mainly, generally.
    ------
    There's also a part of me that feels indignant on behalf of my Caribbean slave ancestors.

    I have mixed feelings. Partly I (a metaphoric part of me) feel indignant.

    BTW, what does 'bring to bear' mean in the context?

  3. #3
    Daruma is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: For the most part

    bring (something) to bear
    : to cause (something) to have an effect or influence
    ▪ The company's new president brings 30 years of experience to bear.
    ▪ If we hope to resolve these issues, more resources must be brought to bear.
    —often used with on
    ▪ They will bring their considerable skills/talent/experience/knowledge to bear on the problem.
    ▪ The demonstrators will continue to bring pressure to bear on the government.

    bring sth to bear (on sb/sth) (formal) to use energy, pressure, influence, etc. to try to achieve sth or make sb do sth: We must bring all our energies to bear upon the task. Pressure was brought to bear on us to finish the work on time.

  4. #4
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default Re: For the most part

    Thanks, but I don't think you answered my question. As I said in my original message, the phrase means "generally". I know that. But if you teach foreign students, you know well that they may ask a further question: What does generally mean in this case? I was trying to make sure that my explanation can make the sentence extremely clear. That is why I asked the question.

    Ian

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    Black Britons can't bring centuries of white guilt to bear with the devastating impact that African-Americans have done for two generations. For the most part, we have been here for less than 60 years.

    '(F)or the most part' above means mainly, generally.
    ------
    There's also a part of me that feels indignant on behalf of my Caribbean slave ancestors.

    I have mixed feelings. Partly I (a metaphoric part of me) feel indignant.

    BTW, what does 'bring to bear' mean in the context?

  5. #5
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: For the most part

    Thanks Daruma. I already new the definition of the idiom.
    My problem is I still do not quite grasp the meaning of the part in bold:

    Black Britons can't bring centuries of white guilt to bear with the devastating impact that African-Americans have done for two generations. For the most part, we have been here for less than 60 years.

    What is the relationship between white guilt and the devastating impact?
    What does the bolded part mean?
    Let me have a tentative go at giving explanation:

    In the US, white people used to treat African-American harshly for the devastating effect they exerted on the fabric of society for two generations. In the UK, however, Black Britons caused no harm, at least not to that extent, partly because they have been living there for less than two generations' time span. So they have not provoked (=bring to bear) such amoral hostility against themselves.
    The author tries to draw a comparison between African-Americans and Black Britons. Right?

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    Thanks, but I don't think you answered my question. As I said in my original message, the phrase means "generally". I know that. But if you teach foreign students, you know well that they may ask a further question: What does generally mean in this case? I was trying to make sure that my explanation can make the sentence extremely clear. That is why I asked the question.

    Ian
    Hello Ian,

    'Generally' means 'with respect to the greatest part'. It refers to the reasons why Black Britons can't bring white hostility to bear, which I did not think of in the first place.
    Last edited by svartnik; 07-Jun-2009 at 07:04.

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: For the most part

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    Thanks in advacne:



    "Black Britons can't bring centuries of white guilt to bear with the devastating impact that African-Americans have done for two generations. For the most part, we have been here for less than 60 years."

    Can we translate “part” into number to interpret “for the most part” as “most of us”? In other words, we as a whole is a whole pie and those who have been here for less than 60 years constitute only a part of the pie. If this works, then students understand the sentence better. The phrase can be translated into “in general” too, but that doesn’t help understanding.

    OK. If the above works, can we use the same method to explain “part” in the following “There's also a part of me that feels indignant on behalf of my Caribbean slave ancestors”. I can hardly translate “part” here into a physical part of the body. Any suggestions?
    In the context given, "for the most part" must mean "most of us" or "most black British people".
    “There's also a part of me that feels..." This means you feel ambivalent about something. It's common in English to say "Part of me feels sorry for him; but another part says it's his own fault", and similar sentiments.

  7. #7
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: For the most part

    Hello Ray,

    Thanks for the input. What is your opinion about this?

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    Black Britons can't bring centuries of white guilt to bear with the devastating impact that African-Americans have done for two generations. For the most part, we have been here for less than 60 years.

    What is the relationship between white guilt and the devastating impact?
    What does the bolded part mean?
    Let me have a tentative go at giving explanation:

    In the US, white people used to treat African-American harshly for the devastating effect they exerted on the fabric of society for two generations. In the UK, however, Black Britons caused no harm, at least not to that extent, partly because they have been living there for less than two generations' time span. So they have not provoked (=bring to bear) such amoral hostility against themselves.
    The author tries to draw a comparison between African-Americans and Black Britons. Right?

  8. #8
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default Re: For the most part

    Hi, Ray. How have you been? Hope things are fine.
    I agree with you on both. As to "part of me", what I want to know is that originally (I mean extremely originally), how come people use "part", as the word "part" can easily invoke a mental picture of physical object that can be cut into several parts, whether the object being square or round or whatever shape. I don't have problem understanding this sentence, but am curious about the "mental picture". Ian

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    In the context given, "for the most part" must mean "most of us" or "most black British people".
    “There's also a part of me that feels..." This means you feel ambivalent about something. It's common in English to say "Part of me feels sorry for him; but another part says it's his own fault", and similar sentiments.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: For the most part

    For Svartnik:
    Black Britons can't bring centuries of white guilt to bear with the devastating impact that African-Americans have done for two generations. For the most part, we have been here for less than 60 years.

    What is the relationship between white guilt and the devastating impact?
    What does the bolded part mean?
    Black Britons = black people in the UK

    white guilt = the guilt or responsibility that white people feel about things that black people have suffered in the past such as slavery, racism and racial discrimination. In the U.S., black people were brought to the country as slaves and forced to work for no pay. Even after slavery was made illegal, black people suffered from racism and racial discrimination which prevented them from getting good educational and occupational opportunities, which furthered the cycle of poverty. White guilt says that the all the things black people suffer (poverty, drugs, crime, etc.) are the fault of white people for enslaving and mistreating black people in the past and for continuing to benefit from a social system in which black people are disadvantaged. It may include the idea that regardless of my own attitudes or overt actions toward black people, I myself am guilty of (or responsible for) all these things and morally inferior to black people simply because I am white. African Americans in the U.S. can use this sense of guilt to gain some concessions from white people. White people today may feel so badly about the way white people of the past have treated black people that they will be especially nice to black people in public, especially in the media or politics. This may help black people to get special laws, policies, opportunities or benefits for black people. It is not about any past harm that black people have caused to society; it is about the harm that white people have caused to black people. You can read more about white guilt here:
    White guilt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Urban Dictionary: white guilt (warning: some of the contributed definitions are quite racist)
    The age of white guilt: and the disappearance of the black individual

    devastating impact = the power that black people have in society (or in relation to white people) because of white guilt. Here "devastating" is akin to heavy, large or great and "impact" means the effect. They have been using this power for two generations, with a huge effect.

    The text in question says that black people in Britain do not have the same emotional power over white people (to make them feel guilty) as black people in the U.S. because they don't have the same long and painful history.

    *It is difficult to discuss issues of racism without a lot of hurt feelings; I intend only to describe certain opinions without suggesting any personal judgment on the matter.

    Can we translate “part” into number to interpret “for the most part” as “most of us”? In other words, we as a whole is a whole pie and those who have been here for less than 60 years constitute only a part of the pie. If this works, then students understand the sentence better. The phrase can be translated into “in general” too, but that doesn’t help understanding.

    OK. If the above works, can we use the same method to explain “part” in the following “There's also a part of me that feels indignant on behalf of my Caribbean slave ancestors”. I can hardly translate “part” here into a physical part of the body. Any suggestions?
    If it helps you to visualize pie charts to explain the expression, I don't have a problem with that. The most part would be the majority of the pie, though, and the smaller slice would be the people who have been there for more than 60 years (those being the exception).

    When we talk about "a part of me", usually we don't mean "me" in the physical sense. We mean our emotional or cognizant identity, the psyche, the mind. There's a part of my mind that feels this way. If I project all of my thoughts as a pie chart, then I can show you this one piece that feels indignant. I could just as well use the visual image of my brain as a metaphor for my thoughts and hand you the "piece of my mind" that holds the thought.

  10. #10
    ian2 is offline Member
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    Default Re: For the most part

    I truly thank you for your detailed explanation. This is what I want, a confirmation from someone I can reply upon. As you can see I don't have a problem in understanding the sentence, but was searching for an effective way to tell students. The pie thing seems effective and your brain picture seems even more effective. I think some cognitive linguists explain language in this way, such as Lakoff. Thanks.


    If it helps you to visualize pie charts to explain the expression, I don't have a problem with that. The most part would be the majority of the pie, though, and the smaller slice would be the people who have been there for more than 60 years (those being the exception).

    When we talk about "a part of me", usually we don't mean "me" in the physical sense. We mean our emotional or cognizant identity, the psyche, the mind. There's a part of my mind that feels this way. If I project all of my thoughts as a pie chart, then I can show you this one piece that feels indignant. I could just as well use the visual image of my brain as a metaphor for my thoughts and hand you the "piece of my mind" that holds the thought.[/quote]

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