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Journal Fragment, Menshap Nouns

Journal Fragment, December
In the language of the Menshap, nouns referring to objects are divided into two classes—things little used and things used often, and are prefaced with different articles. Perhaps the closest to these articles in English are “the” and “a.” Thus: the sink, the stove, the carving knife, and the house, but a waffle-iron. The translation is not very exact, because the English indefinite article signifies one of a class, which is a different concept. That is, forks form a collective class, but a fork, or “the” fork, as “the” plate, both deserve the “much-used” article. How many things, given their ease of manufacture, give us so much payback, so much use, as a fork? Talk about “durable goods”!

Then there is that other class, things with a high waste-to-use ratio: more and more of those, it seems. I’ve always put bivalves in that class. . . .

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