[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: backup archive format saved to disk

On Mon, Dec 11, 2006 at 03:19:07AM -0600, Mike McCarty wrote:
> hendrik@topoi.pooq.com wrote:
> [snip]
> >I've noticed the same kind of disputes in natural languages.  For 
> >example, English speakers usually perceive a clear semantic difference 
> >between "many" and "much".  Yet it's possible to give a purely syntactic 
> >rule to distinguish them -- you use "many" when modifying a plural noun, 
> >and "much" for a singular one.
> This is not true. For example, I have said "I've eaten too much
> beans". "I've eaten too many beans", though it isn't something
> I've said, *could* be said, and would not mean quite the same
> thing. Another place where this doesn't work is with "grits".
> One never has "many" grits. One *could* speak of "many grits",
> I suppose, but that would not mean the same thing as "much grits".
> Another one is "oats". One does not have many oats. If one were
> to ask "How many oats do you have?" it would mean "How many
> varieties do you have?", and not "What quantity do you have?"
> Asking "How much beans did you eat?" means "what quantity", perhaps
> in servings, or ounces weight, or volumetric like cups, but "How many
> beans did you eat?" means "How many different varieties of beans did you
> eat?" (like in a seven bean salad) or "Give me an exact count of how
> many beans you ate." (like 50).
> The issue is whether the quantity is considered to be continuous, or to
> be discrete. Usually, when one speaks of a quatity of discrete objects,
> one uses a plural noun. Likewise, usually when one speaks of a quantity
> of something considered to be continuous, one uses a singular noun.
> But this is not always the case.
> Another way to think of it is this: If one *counts* the amount, then
> one uses "many", if one *measures* the amount, then one uses "much".
> This is regardless of whether the noun used be plural or singular.
> One does not actually *count* the number of beans he has eaten, so
> one uses "much beans" and not "many beans". "Many beans" means one
> needs to count something, like varieties, or make an actual count
> of the number of beans eaten. Most native speakers would be somewhat
> confused upon being asked "How many beans did you eat?" He wouldn't
> know the exact count, and would wonder why anyone would want to know
> it, anyway, so would wonder what was really being asked.
> Peas also fall into this category. I don't know whether I could
> find examples which are not related to food, but believe me, the
> issue is if you ask "how many" then you want an actual count,
> and anything not counted is not a "many", but rather a "much".
> I consider myself a native speaker, since I started when I was about
> three years old. (Spanish is the first language I spoke.)

Interesting set of examples.  THank you.  They com close to seemingly 
plural singular nouns, like "a people", but not quite!

Dutch is my first language -- I started English when I was five.

-- hendrik

Reply to: