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ambiguity

English translation: largest cannot qualify known

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15:51 Nov 2, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Advertising / Public Relations
English term or phrase: ambiguity
The pink blossoms of the largest known silk floss tree in North America drape high

is this expression ambiguous?
largest modifies known (first interpretation)
largest modifies silk floss tree (second)

thanks in advance.
Lakasa Stnorden
Local time: 06:17
English translation:largest cannot qualify known
Explanation:
'known' can be qualified with various words such as 'best-known', 'most-commonly known', but would not (assuming the rest of the text is well-written) be qualified with 'largest known'.

Hence it's not ambiguous because the native reader will favour the word association that sounds right..
Selected response from:

Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 06:17
Grading comment
thanks!!! excellent explanation!!!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +10no ambiguityKen Cox
5not ambiguousxxxcorbett bogd
4 +1largest cannot qualify known
Robin Levey
3 +1it isn't ambigous
Regina Eichstaedter
2my take
Jonathan MacKerron


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
my take


Explanation:
the pink blossoms belonging to the largest known silk-floss type of tree in N. America to hang very high in the tree

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Note added at 7 mins (2007-11-02 15:58:48 GMT)
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strike the "to":
the pink blossoms belonging to the largest known silk-floss type of tree in N. America hang very high in the tree

Jonathan MacKerron
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +10
no ambiguity


Explanation:
'largest known' is a standard semantic unit, and 'silk floss' is the type of tree, so this is the largest known tree of its type in NA

Ken Cox
Local time: 11:17
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 20

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Alexander Demyanov
5 mins

agree  Elizabeth Joy Pitt de Morales
18 mins

agree  RHELLER: sounds fine to me :-)
24 mins

agree  JohnGBell
25 mins

agree  ARTES
2 hrs

agree  V_N
5 hrs

agree  Richard Benham: I don't like the style, but there's no ambiguity.
11 hrs

agree  Carol Gullidge: agree with Richard.
16 hrs

agree  orientalhorizon
2 days19 hrs

agree  John Alphonse
3 days6 hrs
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14 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
it isn't ambigous


Explanation:
of the greatest North American silk floss tree which is known

Regina Eichstaedter
Local time: 11:17
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Carol Gullidge: but Ken beat you to it!//It probably wasn't there at the time you posted - he was simply quicker on the draw!
17 hrs
  -> when I posted, I didn't see his answer... he was quicker on the draw - or his pc beat mine....
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
largest cannot qualify known


Explanation:
'known' can be qualified with various words such as 'best-known', 'most-commonly known', but would not (assuming the rest of the text is well-written) be qualified with 'largest known'.

Hence it's not ambiguous because the native reader will favour the word association that sounds right..

Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 06:17
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
thanks!!! excellent explanation!!!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Carol Gullidge: yes! = as far as anybody knows, this is the largest tree of its type
13 hrs
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
not ambiguous


Explanation:
- clearly 'largest' modifies the noun tree as does 'known' - both adjectives
- it would have to read ' largely' (adverb) known if it modified known

xxxcorbett bogd
Canada
Local time: 03:17
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Robin Levey: But you wouldn't say 'largely known' - you'd say 'widely known'.
20 hrs
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