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    #41

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    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 "
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    #42

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    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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    #43

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    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 "
    That's probably because there is no need. Most people don't use logic when putting sentences together.

    Native speakers use articles appropriately because they have been exposed to the language from birth. They don't actually think about which article they are going to use.

    Most learners try to apply the rules/advice they have been give in their course books/student grammars or by their teachers. They do not apply the rules of formal logic.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

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    #44

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    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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    #45

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    What example would be more suitable for analysis?
    Can we refresh for clarity, please? The thread is getting long and harder to follow.

    What exactly do we want to analyse? Why? What kind of analysis do we want to do?

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    #46

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    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".
    Of course not, because it's not true. Read what I said in #40 again.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #47

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Can we refresh for clarity, please? The thread is getting long and harder to follow.

    What exactly do we want to analyse? Why? What kind of analysis do we want to do?

    I mean an example with a/an NP that might seem unique, while in fact it can easily represent just an instance. If you remember, at first I thought there could be only one 0-18 month level of typical development. That's why "a 0-18 month..." confused me. Then, you suggested thinking of it as an instance, which I tried to do in #32. I coupled the level example with the temperature one because a 100-degree temperature might seem unique too. I mean there's only one 100-degree point on the scale. So, I tried the way you suggested:

    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.


    Then you said (#42) the example was poor. That's why I ask you what example would serve better for analysis.
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    #48

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post

    I mean an example with a/an NP that might seem unique, while in fact it can easily represent just an instance.
    That's precisely what I tried to introduce with my example in post #13, which I tried to bring up again in post #24. I asked you two questions in that post, neither of which you answered. Here's my example again:

    He's at an intermediate level.

    I chose this as an example because it's something I do say and therefore something I'm sure of the meaning of. It's also a good example because EFL teachers do tend to think in terms of discrete levels—that is, that there is only one intermediate level, only one upper-intermediate level, only one advanced level, etc. It's also a good example to work with in that it is similar to the original example in post #1.

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    #49

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    He's at an intermediate level.
    My try: There're many intermediate levels. He's at an instance of a level that can be described as intermediate.

    Frankly, I still can't convince myself by this analysis. What makes it difficult for me to get the idea of an instance here is that I see English levels as a building's floors. If somebody asked me Where're you?, I could reply I'm on the fifth floor, not on a fifth floor.

    I've also found this thread (https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...rmediate-level) where two English teachers say intermediate level doesn't require 'a' at all. I'm a bit confused.
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    #50

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    two English teachers say intermediate level doesn't require 'a' at all.
    There is a big difference between doesn't require and mustn't have.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

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