Re: Order & meaning in a proposition

From: Eric Kaun <>
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 2004 20:20:17 GMT
Message-ID: <5iEcc.7517$>

"Dawn M. Wolthuis" <> wrote in message news:c4ur27$prb$
> Yes, my understanding of the sentence when I wrote it was that the "most
> important" person would likely (not necessarily, but likely) be mentioned
> first. So, the sentence tells you who the writer of the sentence thinks
> be more important.

Not necessarily - that's your inference. Part of the job of systems analysis is to resolve such ambiguities, and data modeling places those resolutions (as predicates) into formal... well, form. I don't see why a model should (or even could reliably) add value by retaining ambiguities - or rather, retaining possibly irrelevant artifacts of English "just in case they're needed." That ultimately makes such knowledge implicit (in the application code), rather than explicit (in the data definition). And it causes confusion when an ordering is implied (e.g. in any XML doc), but isn't present in the real world.

> If the listener/reader had no ordering in their brain
> prior to consuming this sentence, they might be swayed just a little to
> think of the first person mentioned as being in a more important position.

Is that good or bad? It seems irrelevant. Certainly the listener would want to clarify, rather than just modeling as-is?

  • erk
Received on Tue Apr 06 2004 - 22:20:17 CEST

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