Thursday, October 25, 2007

Incorporated Numerical Age Signs for whom?

Quicktime Discusses about what is acceptable for numerical incorporated age signs. As I was making this video a bit late at night, I found myself not meaning what I wanted to say for this small part. As I was talking about computers that are not living things and said the same about the plants, I meant to say that the plant is not a moving thing!


c said...

Zoo animals are mentioned how old they are. As for trees, if it was an old tree and has significant history, age is applied. as for objects, most of the time I see people say something like "i've had that computer for ten years", etc. Car - I've seen people mention years but not "age". I do it too, I've had my mazda for nine years and it was time to get a brand new one". Dogs and cats, I tell people how hold they are..fishes, no....just don't. Lizzard, yes. Plants, no. But flowers, I do mention how many years it keeps coming back since I've planted it personally. I guess it all depends eh?

todos la vie said...

True! I didn't think too much about it until now. I use the word "since." "I had point dumb cat since 12 years."

Eyefang said...

Nah. Here's a linguistic analysis.

Your solution: the distinction in which we attribute the incorporated "age" sign on the chin relies on whether or not the named object is considered an animal with at least a perceived status of some imbued social value or relationship; i.e., buddy, friend, or even, person.

Among Americans, cats and dogs are usually the pets of choice. They observe them to be of a marked subject "he or she", rather than that of an object, "it".

Summary of Rules:

1) Some instance of an intimate relationship with a mammal, whether a human baby, child or a pet; up to age 5, loosely and generally.

2) The subject case marking is elevated from that of the object case marking due to some perceived or attributed social relationship.

Assigning the sign to other objects such as plants or cars is pragmatically ruled out--they do not show age in the nature that mammals do. When plants age, one says: "It's dying." Not its age. When cars age, one says: "It's an old car." Not its age. Only when addressed how old is the plant or car, one says: "I've had it for 8 years."

This distinction lies more in the semantics (for personhood, basically) of the incorporated "age" sign--which naturally leads to the pragmatic use of it.

And you're welcome.


Judge said...

Interesting argument, I never pay attention to those "details". Now I got to see what others got to say!

As usual, you sure bring a lot of interesting topics. Thank you!


deafk said...

Hi, Barb...

I have used the word years, instead of age. I have this dog, Sweetie, for six years. Car for x years. House for x years. Once a while, someone asks how old Sweetie is, I would say she is six years old (from chin). So...

Guess I use it depending on what I think perspectively.

Dianrez said...

My feeling is that touching the chin with the number is characteristic of children, a dimunitive or short form of "old-5" instead of signing it fully. It is better applied to children than to adults.

Older people would say "old-55" or "age-55"

Also, when speaking of pets, it would be "Bowser old-4 years" and of things, "Car old 8 since"
or "Car 8 years old".