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{Deciding the object of a qualifier}

English translation: cross-functional teams

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:{Deciding the object of a qualifier}
English translation:cross-functional teams
Entered by: lbone
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11:49 Mar 8, 2008
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics / Linguistics
English term or phrase: {Deciding the object of a qualifier}
I am translating the following sentence (actually a long phrase):

The purpose for cross-functional teams at the crop level.

If there is no other context, how to decide the object of the qualifier "at the crop level"? Is it for "The purpose", or for "cross-functional teams"?

I have long been puzzling about how to decide the object for the last qualifier, like "at the crop level" in the above context, if there are two or more nouns before it.

Any general guideline?

Thank you!
lbone
China
Local time: 22:32
cross-functional teams
Explanation:
This problem is common in many languages. But in this particular sentence, "cross-functional teams at the crop level" is simply more logical than "the purpose at the crop level."

Strange that it reads "the purpose for" rather than "the purpose of," by the way...

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Note added at 7 mins (2008-03-08 11:56:29 GMT)
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To me this is a bit like "the purpose of hair on our heads." It is the hair that is on our heads, not the purpose.
Selected response from:

Expialidocious
France
Local time: 16:32
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +2cross-functional teams
Expialidocious
4the purpose at crop level
Mark Nathan
3the purpose at the crop level for cross-functional teams
Tony M


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
{deciding the object of a qualifier}
cross-functional teams


Explanation:
This problem is common in many languages. But in this particular sentence, "cross-functional teams at the crop level" is simply more logical than "the purpose at the crop level."

Strange that it reads "the purpose for" rather than "the purpose of," by the way...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 mins (2008-03-08 11:56:29 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

To me this is a bit like "the purpose of hair on our heads." It is the hair that is on our heads, not the purpose.

Expialidocious
France
Local time: 16:32
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Tony M: Your last example would be a good guide in certain situations, but the trouble here is that BOTH the purpose AND the teams MIGHT conceivably be 'at the crop level'
26 mins

agree  Phong Le
13 hrs

agree  katsy
1 day9 hrs
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2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
{deciding the object of a qualifier}
the purpose at crop level


Explanation:
But are you sure it isn't "top level"?
That would make more sense!

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Note added at 4 mins (2008-03-08 11:53:56 GMT)
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Can you give us a complete sentence?

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Note added at 5 mins (2008-03-08 11:54:51 GMT)
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It qualifies both!

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Note added at 27 mins (2008-03-08 12:16:50 GMT)
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I think "The purpose for cross-functional teams" is what is called a noun clause, and as such could be qualified by an adjective clause.



Mark Nathan
France
Local time: 16:32
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 40
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you! This is from a marketing e-course for a crop-related company. So it is definitely crop, not top.

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15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
{deciding the object of a qualifier}
the purpose at the crop level for cross-functional teams


Explanation:
Yes, as Cherry Pie says, it is often a tricky situation!

Personally, my instinctive reading of it was as Jonathan's, and I think an argument can be made for the logic of it.

As Cherry Pie says, that 'for' is a little unexpected — one would ony normally say 'purpose for' if it meant, for example, some kind of objective-setting: defining a purpose for theses cross-functional teams.

Likewise, 'the' before crop level at first sight reads slightly oddly, though I can see how it might be justified.

It would be really interesting to see the whole phrase, to understand better just how it fits in.

This is the sort of situation where you really need to glean clues from the whole of your wider context in order to (possibly!) be able to resolve the ambiguity — at least in terms of the logic of the situation, and hence the likelihood of one or the other reading's being more correct than the other.



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Note added at 29 mins (2008-03-08 12:18:25 GMT)
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Right, OK, I see: from your original remark, I had understood it was part of a longer sentence, but I see now how it stands alone.

I think different writers structure such thing in such different ways, there really isn't any hard-and-fast 'rule' that will work reliably; usually, context will be the greatest help; unless, of course, there are any additional clues given by, for example, choice of prepositions.


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Note added at 33 mins (2008-03-08 12:23:05 GMT)
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In the light of your added context, I am now inclined to think that Cherry Pie's interpretation is the more likely one: the reason for having cross-functional teams at the crop level.

In some ways, it is simply the use of the word 'purpose' in this particular context that creates the difficulty.

Tony M
France
Local time: 16:32
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 156
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Changes made by editors
Mar 23, 2008 - Changes made by lbone:
Created KOG entryKudoZ term » KOG term


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