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From: Ardith Hinton (1:153/716)
To: All
Date: Thu, 29.11.12 01:12
Collective Nouns... 2.
Hi again, Alexander! This is a continuation of my previous message to you:

ak> But [mass nouns] are sometimes used with "a" when the
ak> noun is modificated with another word.
|In English we generally say "modified by".
I know a native speaker of English who made
a similar error after living in France for
two years & marrying a Frenchman. What she
did was Anglicize her pronunciation of the
French ending of the word "amplifier". But
I knew what she meant, as I did there. Smile

ak> My example: A cosy warmth filled the room.

Some kinds of warmth may be comforting & others less so. I see this
as analogous to what you told us earlier about various kinds of honey.... Smile

AH> FOWLER'S estimates that there are 200+ collective nouns
AH> in English... not counting names for groups of animals,
AH> such as "a gaggle of geese".

ak> You mean that "A gaggle of geese cackle outdoors." Yes?
ak> (not cackles)

How about "A gaggle of geese was crossing the road, just in front of
my car?" That's how city folks would talk & it's probably the answer you'd be
expected to offer on a grade twelve English exam... especially if the sentence
appeared in isolation. Now suppose the geese belonged to your grandfather the
beekeeper. I reckon you might take a personal interest in them & notice there
were other geese belonging to him beside the farm pond or whatever. IOW you'd
feel about them as Wordsworth did about the daffodils. I doubt he knew all of
their names, or counted them one by one, but I think he cared about them.

A further explanation as to why we do what we do came to mind when I
read a discussion elsewhere about whether "ZCC" should be masculine, feminine,
or neuter. The consensus among the participants was that much depends on what
language a person is using. In English the ZCC is an "it" although it is made
up of male & female human beings. (BTW... good work, xxcarol! I realize your
life circumstances have changed & you haven't written much lately where I hang
out most often, but if you're lurking in E_T I'd enjoy hearing from you.Wink The
ZCC, like the FTSC, is a committee working within Fidonet. We usually reserve
the masculine & feminine pronouns for human beings or cherished family pets...
with a few exceptions, such as ships & countries. Any sort of private club is
treated grammatically as neuter along with committees & subcommittees of same.
OTOH, if you really care about certain human beings and/or certain family pets
and/or the livestock from your grandfather's farm and/or the holly trees which
your neighbours planted years ago between their residence & yours you'll begin
to see what distinguishes one from another, and there's where knowing you have
a choice with collective nouns may be helpful. Grammatically the pronouns you
use, if you want to add more details, must agree with your decision re whether
to treat the group as singular or plural. If the verb indicates you regard it
as plural you can use "they"... which applies equally well to any gender. Smile

AH> A bunch of the boys were whooping it up
AH> In the Malamute Saloon....
AH> Robert W. Service, ca. 1905

ak> That's it. ;)

Glad you like it! Penned by an ex-Brit Canadian, I might add. SmileWink

--- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
* Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)


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