# Thread: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

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

Originally Posted by jutfrank
Well, the way that I'm trying to suggest to you involves abandoning the idea of classification.
May I ask you how many article errors you usually notice in my texts? I'm asking because I've always used the classifying approach so far.

Originally Posted by jutfrank
try thinking of different instantiations of one level. This involves thinking less mathematically and more imaginatively.
Is the following comparison correct?
1) Water boils at a 100-degree temperature = a temperature of 100 degrees = an instance of temperature equal to 100 degrees.
2) This child is at a 0-18-month level of typical development = a level of development typical for a 0-18-month child = an instance of a developmental level typical for a 0-18-month child.

Originally Posted by jutfrank
I was using the descriptor nice as a predicate, not as a type.
Why do you think nice as a predicate can't be typifying?

Originally Posted by jutfrank
I didn't mean to say that there are nice Ferraris and non-nice Ferraris. My utterance was equivalent in meaning to That Ferrari is nice.
Do you mean That's a nice Ferrari and Th
at Ferrari is nice are equal in meaning? To me, these two answer different questions: What object is that? vs What Ferrari is that?

Last edited by Alexey86; 08-Oct-2020 at 20:39.

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

Originally Posted by Alexey86
May I ask you how many article errors you usually notice in my texts? I'm asking because I've always used the classifying approach so far.

Very few, if any.

Is the following comparison correct?
1) Water boils at a 100-degree temperature = a temperature of 100 degrees = an instance of temperature equal to 100 degrees.
2) This child is at a 0-18-month level of typical development = a level of development typical for a 0-18-month child = an instance of a developmental level typical for a 0-18-month child.
Number 2 works (similarly to what we've been discussing. 2 doesn't sound natural so I don't want to comment on it.

Why do you think nice as a predicate can't be typifying?
It's not that I think it, I know it. I know it because I said it and I know what I meant.

Do you mean That's a nice Ferrari and That Ferrari is nice are equal in meaning?

Yes, that's exactly my point. At least, that's what I meant.

To me, these two answer different questions: What object is that? vs What Ferrari is that?

Don't think of my utterance as answering any questions. I meant it merely as a comment to show my appreciation of the Ferrari. It wasn't meant to impart any information, which I think is how you're interpreting it.

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

Originally Posted by jutfrank
Very few, if any.
Isn't that strange, given the imperfection of my approach?

Originally Posted by jutfrank
Number 2 works (similarly to what we've been discussing. 2 doesn't sound natural so I don't want to comment on it.
I'm trying the way of thinking you suggest. Am I on the right track?

Originally Posted by jutfrank
It's not that I think it, I know it. I know it because I said it and I know what I meant.

I didn't mean to contrast your thoughts with your knowledge. That's just a common expression.

Originally Posted by jutfrank
Don't think of my utterance as answering any questions. I meant it merely as a comment to show my appreciation of the Ferrari. It wasn't meant to impart any information, which I think is how you're interpreting it.

OK, I see two possible readings of That's a nice Ferrari:
1) That object is a nice Ferarri.
2) That Ferarri is a nice Ferrari.

Pragmatically, the latter is equal in meaning to That Ferarri is nice. But logically, they are not the same. That Ferrari is nice doesn't establish a set, while That's a nice Ferrari does because the indefinite article implies the possibility of more than one nice Ferrari.
So, it's not you, it's the indefinite article that imparts this additional set-related information in your utterance despite the fact it was never your intention.
Last edited by emsr2d2; 09-Oct-2020 at 16:13. Reason: Fixed typo

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

Originally Posted by Alexey86
. . . OK, I see two possible readings of That's a nice Ferrari:
1) That object is a nice Ferarri.
2) That Ferarri is a nice Ferrari.
Actually, there are three possible readings. Neither 1 nor 2 expresses the real intent of "That's a nice Ferrari." You're being much too literal. It's not comparing (1) it to other objects or (2) other Ferraris.

It's a simple expression of appreciation. It just means is that you like that Ferrari.

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

Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein
It's a simple expression of appreciation. It just means is that you like that Ferrari.
Articles always have their specific functions and do their specific job whenever we use them. The indefinite article's job is to establish a set of more than one possible object with a given characteristic (nice, American, yellow, etc.). Don't you agree with that?
Last edited by Alexey86; 10-Oct-2020 at 15:31.

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

Originally Posted by Piscean
Common sense trumps logic 99% of the time
Unfortunately, common sense is too vague a concept for me to use.

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

Originally Posted by Alexey86
Unfortunately, common sense is too vague a concept for me to use.
You will never truly master a language by learning rules and applying logic. Those methods can get you most of the way to mastery, but in the end, you have to allow yourself to absorb it through exposure. Clinging to a rule- and logic-based approach will impede your learning and prevent you from achieving true fluency.

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

Originally Posted by Piscean
So I've noticed.
I haven't seen a grammar guide saying "Forget logic when you're choosing what article to use because common sense trumps logic in 99% of the time "

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

Originally Posted by Alexey86
Isn't that strange, given the imperfection of my approach?

I don't think so, no. I don't think I would say you're approach is 'imperfect' but rather that perhaps it's a little less sophisticated than it could be. That is, just because you don't make mistakes doesn't mean you're highly competent at using articles in lots of different ways.

I'm trying the way of thinking you suggest. Am I on the right track?
I do think so, yes, but I'm not completely sure. My first thought upon considering what you said was that you're thinking in the right way but the example you chose was poor.

I didn't mean to contrast your thoughts with your knowledge. That's just a common expression.
Okay, but it sounded tantamount to asking me how I know what I mean.

OK, I see two possible readings of That's a nice Ferrari:
1) That object is a nice Ferarri.
2) That Ferarri is a nice Ferrari.

Pragmatically, the latter is equal in meaning to That Ferarri is nice.
Okay. Pragmatically, we can only imagine what these utterances could mean (speaker meaning). But yes, I'd agree that a speaker could mean the same thing with both utterances. The latter does sound odd, though, doesn't it? It doesn't sound naturalistic, at all. When I read it out loud, I imagine it being said by a robot. For that reason, it's a poor example to analyse with pragmatics, in my opinion.

But logically, they are not the same. That Ferrari is nice doesn't establish a set, while That's a nice Ferrari does because the indefinite article implies the possibility of more than one nice Ferrari.
Okay, yes. Logically, yes.

So, it's not you, it's the indefinite article that imparts this additional set-related information in your utterance despite the fact it was never your intention.

Okay, yes. That was kind of my point. The error on your part then would be to interpret the utterance logically rather than pragmatically. Of course, in real life there would be lots of prosodic clues to guide you to do this. The utterance That's a nice Ferrari would have a different pronunciation depending on which interpretation the speaker wanted his listener to understand.

It's extremely important to remember the crucial difference between speaker meaning and logical meaning. The past 70 years of the philosophy of language have taught us that logical analysis doesn't get you very far in understanding meaning and use.

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

Originally Posted by jutfrank
I do think so, yes, but I'm not completely sure. My first thought upon considering what you said was that you're thinking in the right way but the example you chose was poor.
What example would be more suitable for analysis?

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