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navi
Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2016 8:39:38 PM
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Joined: 5/16/2014
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1) The guards took away the tape-recorders of many of the journalists.
Could this sentence be used if:
Many of the journalists had tape-recorders and the guards took those tape-recorders away. (all the tape-recorders were taken away)


2) The organizers of the concert did not respond to the outrageous demands of many of the musicians.
Could this sentence be used if:
Many of the musicians had outrageous demands but the organizers of the concert did not respond to them. (no outrageous demand was responded to)


3) The police did not respect the political immunity of many of those present.
Could this sentence be used if:
Many of those present had political immunity, but the police did not respect their political immunity. (there was nobody who had political immunity and whose political immunity was respected)

Gratefully
Navi.
Bareskin2000
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2016 4:12:44 AM

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Joined: 2/28/2014
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Location: Ramsgate, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
The simple reply is "No".

By turning the words around you have changed the meaning.

In the originals it means "many" but not necessarily "all", you have made the many into "all", this has a different meaning.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2016 4:56:09 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,574
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hello Navi.

John Murray is right. Basically, the 'all' and the 'many of' are reversed (or added).
I think that, probably, the originals are deliberately 'slightly vague and ambiguous'. They are news reports and they may not know whether all the journalists had recorders - or whether the guards found and took away all of the recorders.
They can only say that 'many' were taken, belonging to 'many' reporters.

The originals mean this:
1) The guards took away the tape-recorders of many of the journalists.
Many or all of the journalists had tape-recorders. The guards took away many of those recorders. It may be that they took away all of the recorders, but maybe not.

2) The organisers of the concert did not respond to the outrageous demands of many of the musicians.
Many or all of the musicians had outrageous demands.
If all the musicians did, then the organisers did not respond to many of them (they may have responded to one or two).
If only most of the musicians had outrageous demands, then the organisers did not respond to most or all of the demands (they may have responded to one or two).

3) The police did not respect the political immunity of many of those present.
Many or all of the attendees had political immunity. The police may have respected the immunity of one or two, but did not respect that of many of them.
navi
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2016 6:33:47 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/16/2014
Posts: 515
Neurons: 4,945
Thank you very much, John and Drago,

This is more complicated than I thought. In my language, if one uses those sentences, one implies that there was a 'residue' (ie. some tape-recorders that were not taken away, some outrageous demands did receive a response, etc.). We don't know if all the journalists had tape-recorders.

I think in English it is not clear if there was a residue or not. Maybe different people interpret that 'structure' differently.

If I had said:
1a) The guards took away the tape-recorders of some of the journalists.
would it be possible that all of the tape-recorders were taken away? (Some of the journalists had tape-recorders. All of the tape-recorders were taken away.)?

And would you say that this sentence works:


1) "Although he didn’t directly acknowledge the LGBT identity of many of the victims in his condolences to America, President Putin did declare that he regretted what had happened and “wished a speedy recovery to those injured.”

Source:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anastasya-manuilova/putin-orlando-response_b_10478822.html?yptr=yahoo


It is clear to me that the meaning is that he did not acknowledge the fact that many of the victims had LGBT identities. Many of them did have LGBT identities and he did not acknowledge the LGBT identity of any of those victims.


Gratefully,
Navi.


Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2016 7:38:41 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,574
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Yes - it can become even more 'vague' when you have a negative (not) or 'negative-type verb'.

So your first one 1a) The guards took away the tape-recorders of some of the journalists. only specifies that some journalists had tape recorders taken away. It doesn't imply anything, it deliberately does not say.

It does not specify how many journalists had tape recorders - it just doesn't say at all. Maybe all of them did, and the guards ignored some of them. Maybe all the ones who had recorders were targeted, maybe some had two recorders and were left with one, maybe . . .

It doesn't say if there's a 'residue' or the guards took them all. It doesn't imply anything, it just doesn't say. Maybe all the recorders were taken, maybe not.

********
1) "Although he didn’t directly acknowledge the LGBT identity of many of the victims in his condolences to America, President Putin did declare that he regretted what had happened and “wished a speedy recovery to those injured.”

It is fairly safe to assume that Putin did not name the victims and their sexual orientation.
So it is fairly safe to assume that it means
"Many of the victims were some sort of LGBT-oriented. (if that's the right way to put it).
Putin did not mention sexual orientation at all."

This is how you interpreted it
, and is how I think it was intended, too.

However, that's an assumption. The statement would still be true, if Putin had mentioned one or two people specifically as being LGBT, but did not mention a lot of others. (In speech, the stress would be on different words for the two meanings, but it's not usually shown in writing.

"Although he didn’t directly acknowledge the LGBT identity of many of the victims in his condolences to America. . . " (he didn't say anything at all about the subject)

"Although he didn’t directly acknowledge the LGBT identity of many of the victims in his condolences to America, he did mention a few."

These 'stresses' are slight, but noticeable - a slight change in rhythm, tone and volume is enough.
The first one stresses that there was no direct acknowledgement.
The second stresses that it was many (but not all) who were not acknowledged.

navi
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2016 7:54:27 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/16/2014
Posts: 515
Neurons: 4,945
Thank you very much, Drag0nspeaker!

Now it is totally clear!

Gratefully,
Navi.
NKM
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2016 2:24:38 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 5,266
Neurons: 315,308
Location: Corinth, New York, United States
"It's English. It's never totally clear."

Of course that isn't literally true. Rather, I offer it as a warning to users (including native users) of the language that clarity can be an elusive goal.

- "Some of the journalists' tape recorders were taken away."
This seems to imply that other journalists were allowed to keep their tape recorders.

- "Some of the journalists had tape recorders which were taken away."
Here again, some of them may have had tape recorders which were not taken away.

- "Some of the journalists had tape recorders, which were taken away."
Thanks to that all-important comma, this seems to be perfectly clear. Some of the journalists had brought tape recorders. All of those tape recorders were taken away (for the duration of the meeting), to be returned to their owners after the end of the proceedings.

But even that clarity may be illusory, because so much of meaning is determined by context. What are the circumstances surrounding the situation?

Suppose it's an event staged by an extremely repressive government, and we say (as above):
- "Some of the journalists had tape recorders, which were taken away."
It still means that any reporter who brought a tape recorder to the meeting was required to surrender it, but it does not say whether or not it would ever be returned. Other reporters had (that is, possessed ) tape recorders but had left them at home; were those machines also confiscated?

Usually, of course, the obvious meaning is clear enough, and potential alternative meanings (as in my example above) are too far-fetched to be taken seriously.

And sometimes a bit of uncertainty can be an advantage. It's often used deliberately, especially for humorous purposes. Our lives would be less interesting without it!

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