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Thread: the creature

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    #21

    Re: the creature

    Jutfrank, what I'd like to know about is not "the object" as an abstracted concept, but rather about that as a generalized concept, meaning the same as objects.
    What I'd like to know is whether "the noun" (in F "the object") can generalize the same plural nouns ("objects") whatever countable noun it is if context permits.

    Of course I know "the object" in F is grammatical. I know from my teaching experience it's not a good use of English.
    But I must tell my students why it's not so.

    I said this in my previous reply:
    -Abaka said: The specifies lion (as an abstraction of lions) as opposed to other entities--- It seems to me that he is saying the specification is caused by the abstraction of lions and the opposition of the lion to other entities. If so, I agree with abaka.-

    "The object" in F is meant to be a generarized concept, but I cannot find anything opposed to "the object" in any upper class. In other words I cannot find any appropriate context. That made me judge "the object" in F as inappropriate.
    What do you think of my reasoning?

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    #22

    Re: the creature

    I still can't identify your question.

    Are you asking whether the object = objects?

    "The object" in F is meant to be a generarized concept, but I cannot find anything opposed to "the object" in any upper class. In other words I cannot find any appropriate context. That made me judge "the object" in F as inappropriate.
    What do you think of my reasoning?
    I don't understand any of this. If you meant The object as a generalized concept, why are you looking for an upper class? And why don't you know what it's in opposition to? You made up this sentence yourself, so how can you not know what it means?

    I've given you in post #20 what could be a very appropriate context.

    Sorry, I'm lost. Try one more time. Ask me a very clear and direct question, and I'll either answer it directly or tell you which part of the question doesn't make sense.
    Last edited by jutfrank; 05-Sep-2019 at 21:51.

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    #23

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I still can't identify your question.
    Are you asking whether the object = objects?
    Yes, I am.

    You said if you meant The object as a generalized concept, why are you looking for an upper class?
    -I said in my previous reply:
    I think it can be said that "the lion" is qualified for having "the", just because it's an abstracted (a generalized) concept, which is one and only entity. However, it's not that "the lion" as such is well used in any kind of sentence or discourse. Context, as you say, plays an important role, I think. For example, you rarely say, "The lion is a thing (or a creature)." (The upper class here is things, and the opposition seems unclear. --- However, you could say, "The lion is a wild animal (or a mammal)," as long as you prepare the suitable context. (Here the upper class is wild animals or mammals, and the opposition to them seems clear.)

    --- I think "the lion is a thing" is bad because the opposition is unclear, that is: I can't find no appropriate context.
    Looking for an upper class means (or is relevant to) looking for an appropriate context, I think.

    You said: And why don't you know what it's in opposition to?
    --- I just don't hit on what it stands as opposed to.

    You said: You made up this sentence yourself, so how can you not know what it means?
    -No, I saw 'Objects are in space" in some book (what book I don't remember), and I created F just by changing "objects" to "the object"

    You said F is not a good use of English. But good or bad judgment is made by years of
    experience of reading, hearing and speaking English. My students don't have enough experience of such kind. In Japan I, unlike native teachers, have to tell my students why it's good or bad in a reasonable way.

    However, so much for this question. Maybe it's above my ability. I've talked too much. Sorry for troubling you so much. Thank you very much.

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    #24

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by magic dragon View Post
    Looking for an upper class means (or is relevant to) looking for an appropriate context, I think.
    You can overthink such things, and most contexts are concerned with the level of the focus rather than a higher level. If I am talking about a cute cat in a video on my phone, I am not really thinking about the feline family.

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    #25

    Re: the creature

    Magic_Dragon

    Looking at your postings aa a whole, not only in this thread, I feel that you are trying to apply concepts from formal logic and mathematical statistics (e.g. upper adjacent class) to help you with English. I regret to tell you that won't work. Language is not logic. Language in general and English in particular exist quite apart from and independent of logic. Rather than trying to force the rules of logic on the illogical and messy creature we call English, you will fare better with simple rote learning of vocabulary, grammar and idiomatic usage supplemented with a few mnemonics and rules of thumb.

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    #26

    Re: the creature

    -Thank you probus. I totally agree with you. In fact several native speakers including teachers of English have pointed it out to me so far. I agreed with them each time because they are right.
    However, I'm not a lover of a logical or mathematical thinking, because logic (and mathematics) seemed to me to impair something heartful or delicate in a language and in life as well. I used to be a lover of English and American literature, which I majored in in the university.
    Before starting to teach English, I'm not so interested in English grammar: also I disliked language theories like Chomsky's or structuralists',

    But my attitude changed after I became a teacher of English. As you know, the Japanese language is so far from the English language in many ways, particularly in an article system, which doesn't exist in a Japanese language system and too difficult for Japanese teachers let alone students.
    Some teachers try to master articles and teach them to their students, but knowing an article system has something illogical in it and understanding it requires years of experience, not just linguistic experience but also cultural experience, end up giving up teaching articles. (Japanese students, except for few who are lucky enough to have years of experience of staying or studying in English speaking countries, don't have such experience. And they aren't under the condition that they cannot live on if they don't mater English.)
    Only a few teachers teach articles. They don't provide a logical explanation and instead use the word "social convention", which is a convenient phrase for them. However, the students never master articles particularly in the case of an exophoric use. For them there are too many cases requiring rules of thumb, which apply to each individual case, and don't have high versatility.
    As a result, most Japanese students have rarely been taught articles, and even if they are taught articles, they hardly understand. That's a shame, but it can't be helped.

    I wondered I could come up with a breakthrough solution. Nothing, nothing as long as the teaching of articles definitely requires years of linguistic and cultural experience. To make the matters worse, the time allowed for teaching articles to the students is sadly small. But we Japanese teachers want our students to speak and write correct English.

    One day, came to me an idea:
    Native speakers make appropriate choices as to which article to take based on rules of thumb. Almost everyone makes an appropriate choice, but what on earth makes it possible? Probably they, when choosing articles by experience, share the identical psychological tendency. When each person's psychological tendency is the same, it should be thought, there is some extent of logic in it. What kind of logic then? Only God knows. However, it just seems to me to be as reasonable as possible.

    Now when I teach the reason for "the" being added to, say, "meter", as in "The cloth is sold by the meter in that shop.", I provide 4 explanations:
    One is that the standard "meter" must be only one meter recognized by people.
    Another is that generally a unit of measurement is the only socially accepted one.
    Still another is that the meter is chosen by the shopkeeper, not the yard or not the inch.
    (The meter is in contrast with other units of measurement.)
    Still another is that the meter is the generalized concept of meters, which is only one thing.

    Which of the four is correct? Only God knows. Also it is possible there isn't a correct idea among the 4. I tell my students that nobody can judge which one is correct, because nobody knows which idea native speakers had in the days "the meter" was first used, and tell them there might be influences from foreign languages (say, French), and from that on there might be historic changes. And so I let my students choose whichever they like, and tell them the point is whether they come to choose appropriate articles, regardless of its trueness of the chosen idea.

    As for me, I try to provide plural ideas my students can refer to in their choice of articles. And I tell them I cannot provide a correct idea but can provide a reasonable and valid one. Also I tell particularly to the students wishing to be an English teacher to remember what they are taught by me now isn't a definite truth but rather just a reasonable idea.
    (Of course, in th case of anaphora use and cataphora one, I teach in a logical way.)

    As for my questions to you native teachers, I'd like you to make a judgement as to which explanation is reasonable, not which is correct. I just use the word "correct" for convenience. The words "Am I right?" mean in my mind "Is my explanation reasonable enough for my students to understand?" or "Is it useful for their choice of articles?"

    If I should be an English teacher in English speaking countries, I would probably take (much) the same way as you do. As it is, I'm an English teacher in a country of which the language system is the farthest from your countries'
    Anyway so much for the argument. I talked too much. Thank you for your sincere advice.
    Last edited by magic dragon; 10-Sep-2019 at 04:05.

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    #27

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    --most contexts are concerned with the level of the focus rather than a higher level. If I am talking about a cute cat in a video on my phone, I am not really thinking about the feline family.
    I think so ,too. Thank you.

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    #28

    Re: the creature

    Again, I think that simply going with the flow, accepting things that may seem weird or illogical and doing what speakers do may be better than trying to drill down for rules that Chomsky hasn't managed to dredge up. Most of what you think are choices are simply patterns we picked up without questioning when we were infants. We just learned that if we say this, people will think it's right. We didn't ask why. Grammar is often like Nike sportswear- just do it.

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    #29

    Re: the creature

    Thank you Tdol. Again I agree with you. I think you are right.

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    #30

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by magic dragon View Post
    I think so (no comma here) too. Thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by magic dragon View Post
    Thank you, Tdol. Again, I agree with you. I think you are right.
    There was no need to write either of those posts. You can express your thanks with the "Thank" button and your agreement with the "Like" button. Any opportunity to keep threads shorter should be taken.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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