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Thread: the creature

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    #41

    Re: the creature

    --- By the way I haven't yet got the answer to my question from anyone: Why don't you use "the object" instead of "objects" in the sentence, "Objects are in space in time". (I added "and time".)

    Not yet either to my question: Why don't you use "the creature" instead of "creatures" in sentence A: "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists."

    A few responders said A is right, and a sentence using "the creature" is not good. Their responses aren't the answer to my question. What would they answer if asked why is A right or good? If they would answer it's because A is right or good, it's a circular reasoning. Illogical!

    As for me I suggested the reason for "the creature" being bad lies in the fact that "creatures" don't have what they are opposed to (or don't have an upper class except God).
    Just as the sentence "The object is in space and time." is bad because the word "object" doesn't have what it's opposed to.
    (In C, of course, the lion definitely has what it's opposed to.)

    Incidentally except for the case in which the capitalized Creator is used as opposed to the Creator as in 'Must the Creature" worship the Creator?".

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    #42

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    My cousin Vladimir never uses them, nor does he bother with the verb to be. This doesn't impede him from expressing complex thoughts
    ---The Japanese language, which doesn't have any article system, has a highly developed system of demonstratives. It covers the functions English articles have. It seems comprehensive and easy to use at least to me. So with the Russian language, I think.
    I surmise whether the system of demonstratives keeps on developing or lets an article system diverge may depend on the national characteristic and the linguistic influence from Greek or Latin.
    Last edited by magic dragon; 16-Sep-2019 at 16:51.

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    #43

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by magic dragon View Post

    A few responders said A is right, and a sentence using "the creature" is not good. Their responses aren't the answer to my question. What would they answer if asked why is A right or good? If they would answer it's because A is right or good, it's a circular reasoning. Illogical!
    Which language is 100% logical? In some languages it is right to put an adjective before a noun, and right in others to put it after- what is the non-circular logic to determine who is right? The right approach is to follow the patterns in the language you want to use. Your theories will only really prove themselves when they lead you to using articles in such a way that no native speaker would notice any difference.

    With your objects questions, I would not use the definite article because we are talking about objects in general or all objects. However the sentence doesn't make much sense without changing it to space and time. I will leave it to the physicists to say whether that then makes sense.

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    #44

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Which language is 100% logical?
    I didn't say there is a 100% logical language, as you'll see from my statements above.
    I said non-native learners without years of cultural and linguistic experience should be allowed to be as reasonable as possible when understanding articles.
    The word "logical" I use mean reasonability human beings are born with.

    With your objects questions, I would not use the definite article because we are talking about objects in general or all objects.
    So how about C?
    C: The lion is a wild animal.
    Here the speaker seems to be talking about lions in general or all lions. The speaker used "the lion". Do you mean the lion is OK but the object isn't? Please explain why?
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 16-Sep-2019 at 23:16. Reason: Fixed the quote boxes - AGAIN!

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    #45

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by magic dragon View Post
    --- By the way I haven't yet got the answer to my question from anyone:[...] Why don't you use "the object" instead of "objects" in the sentence, "Objects are in space in time". (I added "and time".)
    Well, we don't generally say that. We'd normally need to say Objects exist in space and time. While BE can in someways be considered the quintessential existential verb, it is not often so used. Descartes's Cogito ergo sum is usually rendered in English as I think, therefore I am, but a more fully comprehensible rendering in modern English would be I think, therefore I exist.

    Back to Objects exist in space and time. In a philosophical discussion, The object exists in space and time is possible, because speaker/writer and listener/reader both know that The specifies object as an abstraction of objects. However, in normal usage the first reaction of most listeners.readers when they hear The object exists in space and time is to ask "Which object?" With plural objects, we know that all objects are being discussed.

    Not yet either to my question: Why don't you use "the creature" instead of "creatures" in sentence A: "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists."
    Creature, like object is too non-specific a word in normal language. Our first reaction is to ask "Which creature?" We don't have that problem with plural creatures.
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    #46

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    -- in normal usage the first reaction of most listeners.readers when they hear The object exists in space and time is to ask "Which object?"
    --- My reaction would be the same.

    With plural objects, we know that all objects are being discussed.
    ---Me, too.

    Crerture, like object is too non-specific a word in normal language. Our first reaction is to ask "Which creature?" We don't have that problem with plural creatures.
    --Me , too.

    I've agreed in this thread with native teachers' explanations. I'm of the same opinion as yours. However, that's not what I'm asking.
    I know well that "the creature" and "the object" as a generalized concept don't make sense, while "the lion" and "the computer" do.
    What I'd like to ask is why the former 2 aren't OK, while the latter 2 are.

    What should I answer if my students in Japan ask me the above question?
    If I answered what you said above, my students wouldn't accept. I have to say that's the way native speakers do, and their ideas are valid with native people with the same linguistic experience, though not with people without such experience.

    I myself have some extent of experience of that kind. I've been teaching English for about 40 years. I've accepted native speakers' linguistic conventions as necessary.
    However, I can't put, in a short time, years of experience into my students' minds.

    Probably I won't be able to convince you native teachers. You only have to teach to the students with years of experience, who cannot live on without such experiences.
    I know well that I'm asking you native teachers something very stressful, which you've never thought of. So in fact I don't expect so much of you.
    But if you are kindly to consider this matter, I'd like your opinions. Probably you would be frustrated by my seemingly unanswerable question. But teachers who have experienced teaching in other countries, or who are now teaching students in your country without years of experience might understand me.

    Here I'll state again my opinion in my reply to probus (I changed a bit.)
    Native speakers make appropriate choices as to which article to take based on linguistic conventions. 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. Because each person's psychological tendency is the same, there should be in it reasonability which humans are born with.

    So I'd like to consider this matter in terms of reasonability.
    Countable nouns which cannot be used as a generalized concept are, I suppose, a creature and an object, while the other countable nouns can be used as such. Among the latter countable nouns the species names (the lion, the oak ---) are often used.

    So why a creature and an object aren't used as such?
    You say it's because the creature and the object are usually considered as a specific one, not a conceptual one.
    Why then does there arise such an misunderstanding? It's because you can't use them as a generalized concept. That's a convention. So how was such a convention got by people?

    I surmise there was a psychological tendency that people didn't want to use them as such. I surmise people long ago are interested in categorization, and a lion and an oak seemed easy to be categorized, while an object and a creature not.

    That's just my surmise, but it seems somewhat reasonable.
    As aforesaid, it's reasonability that matters, not rightness. My idea seems at least to me as practical in teaching sites.
    I'd like your opinions if you like.
    Last edited by magic dragon; 17-Sep-2019 at 10:28.

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    #47

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by magic dragon View Post
    I've agreed in this thread with native teachers' explanations. I'm of the same opinion as yours. However, that's not what I'm asking.
    I know well that "the creature" and "the object" as a generalized concept don't make sense, while "the lion" and "the computer" do.
    What I'd like to ask is why the former 2 aren't OK, while the latter 2 are.
    That's been answered Creature and object are not specific enough.

    What should I answer if my students in Japan ask me the above question?
    If I answered what you said above, my students wouldn't accept.
    You will have to find some way to make them accept. Like you, I have been teaching English for (over forty years), and I have taught speakers of such languages as Chinese, Estonian, Turkish and Arabic, all of which are fundamentally different from English. I have managed to get across to them that they simply have to accept that there is sometimes no simple answer to the question 'why' when we are talking about language. I have also worked with teachers of English (British, Australian, American and Japanese) who have taught Japanese learners without experiencing the intellectual/philosohical problems that appear to be worrying you.


    I surmise people long ago are interested in categorization, and a lion and an oak seemed easy to be categorized, while an object and a creature not.
    It's more straightforward than that. We can see, feel, smell a lion, and recognise that is is very similar indeed to other lions. Lions are recognisable as being cats/mammal/vertebrates/animals that are different from other cats (e.g., tigers), mammals (e.g., elephants), vertebrates (e.g., crocodiles) or animals (e.g., jellyfish). An oak (tree) is similarly recognisable as distinct from other trees, plants, etc.

    Creatures and objects are not so readily recognisable as distinct things.
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    #48

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    That's been answered Creature and object are not specific enough.
    ---Sorry, I mistook the word "specific" you used for "specific in reference to something".

    Creatures and objects are not so readily recognisable as distinct things.
    ---I think that's much the same as my idea: creatures and objects don't have what they are opposed to. That's exactly what I've seeking for: that is the answer.
    Thank you very much Piscean for your sincere advice and comment.
    Now so much for this question. I've talked far too much. Sorry to trouble you and other native speakers a lot.
    Last edited by magic dragon; 17-Sep-2019 at 18:00.

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    #49

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by magic dragon View Post
    Sorry to trouble you and other native speakers a lot.
    There's no need to apologise. We are under no obligation to respond. If we choose to do so, you can assume we are (reasonably) happy to do so.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

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    #50

    Re: the creature

    Quote Originally Posted by magic dragon View Post
    I surmise people long ago are interested in categorization, and a lion and an oak seemed easy to be categorized, while an object and a creature not.
    Yes, I think that's pretty close.

    We tend to use definite articles in this way when talking about things that are finite members of clear categorisation. That's why biological species serve as such good examples. It just doesn't work well with things like creatures and objects, unless the discourse is of a certain type where the speaker/writer deliberately wishes to treat the noun in such a way (as with the use of The object ... in a philosophical text).

    Another common example concerns inventions. We say things like The television was invented by John Logie Baird, or I think the bicycle is the greatest invention of all time. In these cases, of course, you cannot use the plural *Televisions were invented by John Logie Baird. It's as if in our minds there's a finite list of inventions that we're consulting of which 'the television' is just one singular member.

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