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  1. #81
    jutfrank's Avatar
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    I've found such examples:

    1. Fifty workers and customers huddled for safety on a second floor as it was raked with bullets.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/16/w...ists-rise.html

    2. The clinic is not more than a warren of rooms on a second floor that is reached only by stairs, making it a daunting climb for weakened patients.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/18/w...nt-denial.html

    3. He said police first photographed him for a biometrics database, took him down a long cinderblock hallway on a second floor, and handcuffed him to a bench bolted to the floor.
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...are-black-site
    Excellent examples. You can definitely work with those. I think they illustrate my explanation about instantiations very well. Each second floor is one instance of a second floor. You cannot interpret them to mean that each building has multiple second floors.

    Using the definite article would be quite inappropriate in these contexts as the building in question has not been specified. You can't refer to 'the' second floor if you don't know which building you're talking about.



    I really prefer the word explanation to exception.
    Me too.

  2. #82
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    But you wouldn't say "He's on a fifth floor", right, Frank? Or would you? From what I gathered reading GS's, Piscean's and Ems's replies, it's not natural, is it? For instance, here Ems said:

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    And my answer would be "He's on the second floor". A man can only be in one place at one time. Your question does not need to elicit the information that we're talking about the building on the right because that's where we can see him. That building has only one second floor.
    Speaking about levels (yes, I've read the entire thread this time ) I understand Alexey's trouble with understanding Frank's point about instantiations because it's foreign for me too. And I find 'on the fifth floor' example very similar to 'at a 0-18-month level'. And even if there are some differences between the examples, as Piscean said, you wouldn't say 'He's at an age of 5', would you? The notion 'age' is as imprecise as 'level', right? If you use in one example 'a' and in a similar one 'the', then there is a contradiction.

    But who said a language must be logical? Any language is full of contradictions and there are no explanations for everything in it. I think you, Alexey, собаку съел на артиклях, but can you explain this highly illogical from the contemporary language view expression -
    собаку съел на чем-либо?

    Why are there contradicting ways of expression? Isn't it because we all see things a little differently and convey our ideas differently?

    I adore this brilliant thread but I'm afraid I'm more confused now than before I read it. But I'm completely fine with that. The brain just needs a little of time to accomodate new information - contradictory or not. I hope so, at least.
    Last edited by GeneD; 24-Oct-2020 at 19:53.
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

  3. #83
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    I always wondered why the expression 'an all-time high' goes with the indefinite article, and Frank's point of view seems to explain it perfectly! There are many peaks like this because everyone or everything has their own all-time high. Is that right?
    Last edited by GeneD; 24-Oct-2020 at 20:39. Reason: Corrected a typo. Thanks for pointing that out.
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

  4. #84
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    I always wondered why the expression 'an old-time high' goes with the indefinite article, and Frank's point of view seems to explain it perfectly! There are many peaks like this because everyone or everything has their own all-time high. Is that right?

    What's an 'old-time high'? Do you mean an 'all-time high'?

  5. #85
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    I always wondered why the expression 'an old all-time high' goes with the indefinite article .
    It follows the usual pattern: of all possible highs, this one is an instance of a maximum. There could be a higher one tomorrow, but this is the highest so far.
    I am not a teacher.

  6. #86
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    What's an 'old-time high'? Do you mean an 'all-time high'?
    Yes, it was 'all-time high', of course. How I could type 'old' is an enigma for me.
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

  7. #87
    GeneD is offline Senior Member
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    It follows the usual pattern: of all possible highs, this one is an instance of a maximum. There could be a higher one tomorrow, but this is the highest so far.
    I always saw it in a different way. Like when we say that someone is 'the best' where we (I hope not only I) think that there is only one best. I thought there is only one best when he/she is in their prime, or, in other words, their 'all-time high'. But Frank's explanation (and yours now, and maybe Charlie's) shows that the issue can be seen the other way round: there are many 'bests' and 'all-time highs'.
    Last edited by GeneD; 24-Oct-2020 at 21:04.
    If it's not too much trouble to you, could you please correct any errors I might have made in this post?

  8. #88
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    But who said a language must be logical? Any language is full of contradictions and there are no explanations for everything in it. I think you, Alexey, собаку съел на артиклях, but can you explain this highly illogical from the contemporary language view expression - собаку съел на чем-либо?
    Unlike articles, idioms don't require explanations to use them properly. All you need is to remember their meanings, which won't help you with articles. Maybe some learners develop a gut feeling for article use and do without explicit explanations. Well, I'm not one of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Using the definite article would be quite inappropriate in these contexts as the building in question has not been specified. You can't refer to 'the' second floor if you don't know which building you're talking about.
    This is definitely true for (2). But in (1) and (3) the building is known:

    (1) "Luckily it was mostly beer 6,000 cans of it -- that was shot up Sunday. But the liquor distributor in Baghdad was hit with a full-scale assault:
    several cars and a minivan full of masked men with guns and grenades sprayed the building with hundreds of rounds.
    Fifty workers and customers huddled for safety on a second floor as it was raked with bullets."

    (3) The article's title is 'Chicago’s Homan Square 'black site': surveillance, military-style vehicles and a metal cage.' It starts with
    ''This building (picture below) looks innocent enough. But those familiar with the secretive interrogation and holding facility describe a shocking display of police abuses"
    ...
    Brian Jacob Church was taken to Homan Square after police picked him up in 2012 on terrorism charges he beat at trial.
    He said police first photographed him for a biometrics database, took him down a long cinderblock hallway on a second floor, and handcuffed him to a bench bolted to the floor."
    Last edited by Alexey86; 24-Oct-2020 at 23:33. Reason: fixing a typo
    Not a teacher or native speaker

  9. #89
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Maybe some learners develop a gut feeling for article use and do without explicit explanations.
    I'm afraid that's the only way to completely master them. You can get most of the way by finding patterns and learning rules; the rest of the journey has to be on foot.
    I am not a teacher.

  10. #90
    jutfrank's Avatar
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    Re: at a zero-to-eighteen-month level of a typical development (article use)

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneD View Post
    But you wouldn't say "He's on a fifth floor", right, Frank? Or would you? From what I gathered reading GS's, Piscean's and Ems's replies, it's not natural, is it?
    Whether it's natural is beside the point. What Alexey86 and I have been discussing here is meaning. And yes, it could easily be natural given an unusual context.

    Speaking about levels (yes, I've read the entire thread this time ) I understand Alexey's trouble with understanding Frank's point about instantiations because it's foreign for me too.

    Or maybe because I didn't explain it very well.

    But who said a language must be logical?
    Um, logicians?

    Seriously, I prefer to say that language is (psycho)logical. Logically, you can analyse a piece of language to death but it will only get you so far. To properly understand meaning, you must take a cognitive approach to analysis. Meaning comes from an unconscious part of the mind and is formed from unconscious conceptual and spatial structures. I'd say this has been at least partly recognised by the philosophy of language for at least fifty years. I get the impression that Alexey86 (with the greatest respect) is trying to understand things as Gottlob Frege might have, a hundred years ago.

    Any language is full of contradictions and there are no explanations for everything in it.
    I couldn't disagree more. Everything has an explanation. Just because you can't see one doesn't mean one doesn't exist.

    I adore this brilliant thread but I'm afraid I'm more confused now than before I read it. But I'm completely fine with that. The brain just needs a little of time to accomodate new information - contradictory or not. I hope so, at least.

    We're glad you're entertained.

    (P.S. I've never been part of a thread of 100 posts before. Congratulations, Alexey!)

    (P.P.S. But I was secretly hoping to write post number #100 myself—damn you, GoesStation for beating me to it!)
    Last edited by probus; 25-Oct-2020 at 02:11. Reason: Fix typo

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