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  1. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #11

    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    What about a vs the before zero to eighteen month level?
    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    The question is whether it should be a or the.
    I assume that your question here is your way of suggesting the speaker made an error. I would disagree with that. The question should really be why she used an indefinite article there.

    My feeling is that the speaker is quite uncertain about the whole sentence so I don't think it's a great example to analyse. However, I'll try to deal with the question as I understand it to exist in your mind.

    You have an idea that the use of an indefinite article is evidence that a speaker is referring to a specific type (in your words 'one of many') Is that fair to say? That's how I understand your thinking in post #1 and #5, and that's why you're wondering why a definite article would be preferable. Am I on the right lines?

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    #12

    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I assume that your question here is your way of suggesting the speaker made an error. I would disagree with that. The question should really be why she used an indefinite article there.
    You're right it should be why.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    You have an idea that the use of an indefinite article is evidence that a speaker is referring to a specific type (in your words 'one of many') Is that fair to say? That's how I understand your thinking in post #1 and #5, and that's why you're wondering why a definite article would be preferable. Am I on the right lines?
    As I understand it, the indefinite article is about elements of classes/sets. When I say "I drive a German car", I basically mean "I drive a thing that is an instance of the class of German cars." So, "a 0 to 18 month level of typical development" sounds to me as if there were at least one more 0 to 18 month level of typical development.
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  3. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #13

    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    As I understand it, the indefinite article is about elements of classes/sets. When I say "I drive a German car", I basically mean "I drive a thing that is an instance of the class of German cars."

    Yes. That's a clear example.

    So, "a 0 to 18 month level of typical development" sounds to me as if there were at least one more 0 to 18 month level of typical development.

    Yes, okay, I think I've understood your question properly. I just wanted to check with you to make sure. I'll tell you how I understand this usage:

    The indefinite article here does not serve to discriminate one class of level from other classes. This is where it differs from the 'German car' example above. What it does is propose a discrimination between this instance of this class of level and other instances of the same class of level.

    I'll give you another example to consider, since I'm not very happy to work with the one we're using. As a teacher, I might very naturally say something in reference to one of my students:

    He's at an intermediate level.

    Now, I don't feel a need to use a definite article here. The way that I understand what I say 'from the inside' is that in my mind there are imagined to be countless students at this level, and that this particular student's level is a particular instantiation of all of these possible intermediate levels. There is an implied contrast with other levels, yes (in fact, the utterance doesn't really make sense without such a contrast), but the idea is essentially of this particular instance of this particular level.

    I hope that makes some sense. As you know, understanding the intricacies of how language refers to thought is just about the hardest possible thing to understand in all of semantics.

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    #14

    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    There is an implied contrast with other levels, yes (in fact, the utterance doesn't really make sense without such a contrast), but the idea is essentially of this particular instance of this particular level.
    I understand this, but it doesn't make sense to me logically. I'll put the whole passage here again:

    If your child or client is functioning within level one of the VB-MAPP (The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program),
    that would be equivalent to functioning at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of typical development.

    If I were the speaker, my main idea would be that of the equivalence of level one of the VB-MAPP to the 0 to 18 month level of typical development in contrast to other levels. I see absolutely no point in discriminating instances within this level, because it's a level-to-level comparison, not a level-to-other level's instance one, which would seem logically flawed to me.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 04-Oct-2020 at 16:12.
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    #15

    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    If I were the speaker, my main idea would be that of the equivalence of level one of the VB-MAPP to the 0 to 18 month level of typical development in contrast to other levels. I see absolutely no point in discriminating instances within this level.

    That's fine. The speaker clearly saw it in a slightly different way.
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    #16

    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Note that the writer hyphenated the long compound adjective. You should have done the same in the thread's title.
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    #17

    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Note that the writer hyphenated the long compound adjective. You should have done the same in the thread's title.
    Done. The "writer" is me. I'm still not sure how to write it correctly.
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  8. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #18

    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    If I were the speaker, my main idea would be that of the equivalence of level one of the VB-MAPP to the 0 to 18 month level of typical development in contrast to other levels. I see absolutely no point in discriminating instances within this level, because it's a level-to-level comparison, not a level-to-other level's instance one, which would seem logically flawed to me.
    Right. That kind of explains the trouble you're having, I suppose. Fair enough.

    But let me ask you this. Imagine we're walking in the street and I point and say to you:

    That's a nice Ferrari.

    What do you think I'm distinguishing in this case?

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    #19

    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    But let me ask you this. Imagine we're walking in the street and I point and say to you:

    That's a nice Ferrari.


    What do you think I'm distinguishing in this case?

    It means that within the set of Ferrari cars you're distinguishing the subset of nice Ferraries from the subset of not nice ones. The utterance can be reworded as "That's an instance of the subset of nice Ferraries, not of the 'not nice' ones, within the set of Frerrari cars."
    Last edited by Alexey86; 04-Oct-2020 at 17:59.
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    #20

    Re: at a zero to eighteen month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post

    It means that within the set of Ferrari cars you're distinguishing the subset of nice Ferraries from the subset of not nice ones. The utterance can be reworded as "That's an instance of the subset of nice Ferraries, not of the 'not nice' ones, within the set of Frerrari cars."
    There's no "e" in "Ferraris".

    I think jutfrank was asking about why he chose "that" rather than "it" or "this".
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