• Such/Fuel... 1.

    From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to alexander koryagin on Fri Mar 2 18:00:57 2018
    Hi, Alexander! Recently you wrote in a message to Ardith Hinton:

    As it is known, "fuel" is an uncountable noun. But
    is it true after "such"? Is it an error to write like
    this? My tongue puts "a" involuntary. ;)

    Uraninum is such a fuel that it causes more problems
    than benefits.

    And my tongue agrees with yours there.... ;-)

    Thanx, for such a scrupulous answer. At once we can
    see a teacher whose feet itching to go to school. ;)


    IMHO the English teacher's job involves helping people clarify both their thinking & their language, because the two are interdependent. And I do enjoy working with those who are receptive to the idea... [chuckle].



    So, when we use "a type of/ a sort of" (or can use it),
    we single out a notion to a special group. In short the
    rule is:


    Your terminology, not mine! It seems to me that "rules" in English often have exceptions which may be confusing... [wry grin].



    If we imply "a type of/a sort of" before an uncountable noun
    we put "a" as a reminder.


    Maybe... OTOH you've done enough reading in English by now to begin detecting patterns as native speakers do. Judging by how many of them use the word "less" rather than "fewer" with countable nouns (e.g) unless they've been taught not to, however, I doubt they'd be thinking as above. While I remember the less/fewer distinction being pointed out to me in school, I don't remember seeing or hearing anybody use the terms "countable" and "uncountable". You're familiar with such terms because you've studied English as a foreign language.

    Native speakers generally collect examples based on what they see & hear around them, and draw their own (sometimes erroneous) conclusions WRT the underlying principle. I experienced similar difficulties in grade eight while taking a pilot program French immersion course. For a long time I thought the teacher was referring to the back of the room when she kept saying "les belles affiches"... meaning the travel posters on the wall.

    With more traditional methods of learning another language you have the opposite problem. You study the explanation of the "ablative absolute" in Latin class & it appears to make sense. Then you have to answer ten questions on the same topic, and by the time you get to the fourth question you've found an example which doesn't fit. I wasn't a brilliant student in Latin either... but it did give me some idea where my modem buddies in Russia are coming from. And I know if I've forgotten the name of a verb tense in English I can consult the message somebody once posted as a joke in the RUSSIAN_TUTOR echo.... :-))




    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)
  • From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to alexander koryagin on Fri Mar 2 18:00:57 2018
    Hi, Alexander! Recently you wrote in a message to Ardith Hinton:

    While I remember the less/fewer distinction being
    pointed out to me in school, I don't remember seeing
    or hearing anybody use the terms "countable" and
    "uncountable". You're familiar with such terms
    because you've studied English as a foreign language.

    Everett wondered in the same way when I spoke of
    "countable" and "uncountable" nouns. ;-)


    I imagine his experience (or lack thereof) is/was similar to mine re
    these terms. IIRC I first encountered them in this very echo when someone else
    from Russia used them. Not to worry! It seems they're widely understood among
    students of English as a foreign language, and I got the drift right away. :-)



    Some people call them "mass nouns." Probably it
    is a better term.


    FOWLER'S uses "count nouns" synonymously with "countable nouns", and
    "mass nouns" synonymously with "uncountable nouns". In both cases I prefer the
    second alternative, however, because it seems more intuitive to me. Some folks
    may prefer the first alternative because it requires less typing on their part.
    OTOH, you may lose half your audience if you expect them to look it up.... ;-)



    Human brain is a strange thing. We spend years
    on learning, and think that it is difficult, but
    a two-year-old child speaks perfectly well, and
    nobody teaches him. ;-)


    Young children are eager to learn, and their brains are growing at a
    phenomenal rate. The adults around them may not think of what they're doing as
    "teaching". Human beings, however, are social creatures. Awhile before babies
    learn to speak they go through a stage where they experiment with using various
    sounds... typically described as "goo goo, ga ga" or "babbling". They might be
    saying "Have a good day!" in Sanskrit or "The square on the hypotenuse is equal
    to the sum of the squares on the other two sides" in Greek or "the Lord created
    the heavens and the earth" in Hebrew... but if their parents don't understand a
    word of these languages they'll probably remain silent. Now watch what happens
    when Junior says "Ma ma" or "Da da". Assuming the family is still intact, both
    parents are delirious with joy because the kid has uttered his first word. One
    gestures enthusiastically toward the other & repeats "Mommy" or "Daddy" as they
    are accustomed to hearing it. They phone Grandma to share the good news. Then
    they brag about it to their 500 nearest & dearest friends on Facebook.... :-))



    And, it seems to me, the more we live the more soon
    children start to speak. ;)


    Perhaps they do. OTOH... as we grow older time seems to accelerate,
    and we forget how old "baby" is now. I am reminded of a conversation years ago
    with a neighbour who had visited Germany briefly. When I told him I'd given up
    on German in lesson nine, where I was introduced to over two dozen prepositions
    using three cases, he said "What cases??" I had to dig out a textbook in order
    to prove to him that there are cases in German. Toddlers learn the way he did,
    and their understanding of prepositions also develops later! Today's kids have
    advantages Dallas & I never had. But we grew up in an era when almost everyone
    around us was a native speaker of English. I understand why the folks from the
    local greengrocery try to pluralize "broccoli" even though it's plural already,
    yet fail to pluralize other nouns. Plurals are treated differently in Chinese.
    Learning a new language isn't so easy after the first few years of life because
    the neurological connections required tend to develop much more slowly.... :-)



    In two years he spoke and understood perfectly,
    while I cannot even remember myself before 5
    years old age.


    Don't be too hard on yourself! The majority of adults remember very
    little if anything of what happened to them before this age or later. We saw a
    poster in our doctor's office recently indicating that children in general have
    difficulty pronouncing certain consonant blends & consonant digraphs in English
    up to the age of four. This poster didn't mention grammar, but I know a lot of
    middle-aged native speakers who still seem unclear on various concepts.... :-)




    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)
  • From alexander koryagin@2:5020/400 to Ardith Hinton on Sat Mar 3 08:24:55 2018
    From: "alexander koryagin" <koryagin@erec.ru>

    F2EP
    Hi, Ardith Hinton! How are you?
    on Monday, 29 of October, I read your message to alexander koryagin
    about "Such/Fuel... 1."

    <skipped>

    Some people call them "mass nouns." Probably it is a better term.
    FOWLER'S uses "count nouns" synonymously with "countable nouns",
    and "mass nouns" synonymously with "uncountable nouns". In both
    cases I prefer the second alternative, however, because it seems
    more intuitive to me. Some folks may prefer the first alternative because it requires less typing on their part. OTOH, you may lose
    half your audience if you expect them to look it up.... ;-)

    As for me, it seems to me that "mass noun" gives a good idea that the
    noun means something uncertain. Indeed "sugar," for instance, a very
    good example why it can be called "mass noun." I see that when sugar
    means a mass, and I don't use the indefinite article.

    Human brain is a strange thing. We spend years on learning, and
    think that it is difficult, but a two-year-old child speaks
    perfectly well, and nobody teaches him. ;-)

    Young children are eager to learn, and their brains are growing at
    a phenomenal rate. The adults around them may not think of what they're doing as "teaching".

    Why they should think so if they indeed do not teach? If they exhort
    the child "say mommy, say daddy" it doesn't mean they teach. They just
    ask. ;)

    Human beings, however, are social creatures. Awhile before babies
    learn to speak they go through a stage where they experiment with
    using various sounds... typically described as "goo goo, ga ga" or "babbling". They might be saying "Have a good day!" in Sanskrit or
    "The square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on
    the other two sides" in Greek or "the Lord created the heavens and
    the earth" in Hebrew... but if their parents don't understand a
    word of these languages they'll probably remain silent.

    The most remarkable thing - they have dreams where they meet with a
    lot of people. And in this dream world they interact not with words but
    with thoughts. It is not necessary have a real tongue to start communicating with people. The tongue, however will be in use when it
    will be ready for using. ;). So, in short, the more dreams have a child
    in his native language the more quickly he starts to understand people
    and then speak.

    <skipped>

    And, it seems to me, the more we live the more soon children start
    to speak. ;)
    <skipped>
    later! Today's kids have advantages Dallas & I never had. But we
    grew up in an era when almost everyone around us was a native speaker of English. I understand why the folks from the local greengrocery try to pluralize "broccoli" even though it's plural already, yet fail to pluralize other nouns. Plurals are treated differently in Chinese. Learning a new language isn't so easy after
    the first few years of life because the neurological connections required tend to develop much more slowly.... :-)

    I pnone to think that children acceleration connected with the fact
    that now they live among words. I mean that TV sets, radio are constantly turned on. That's why children dreams are far more saturated
    than were ours in their age.

    [...If a person barks at people he lives as a dog, too]
    Bye Ardith!
    Alexander (yAlexKo[]yandex.ru) + 2:5020/2140.91
    fido7.english-tutor 2012



    --- ifmail v.2.15dev5.4
    * Origin: Demos online service (2:5020/400)