+0
The sentence:
The residures found in Peking Man's caves showed that 70 percent of his diet consisted of venision and the other 30 percnt of whatever else he was able to hunt or trap---otter, boar, and wild sheep, buffalo, rhinocoros, even tiger.


Why not 'otter, boar, wild sheep, buffalo, rhinocoros, and even tiger'?

Well, my understanding is, 'sheep, buffalo, rhinocoros, even tiger' are all modified by 'wild' (i.e. ...and wild ones [ones=sheep, buffalo, rhinocoros, even tiger]), but I'm not sure on this one.

Am I right or wrong?
1 2 3
Comments  
The sentence:
The residues found in Peking Man's caves showed that 70 percent of his diet consisted of venison and the other 30 percent of whatever else he was able to hunt or trap---otter, boar, and wild sheep, buffalo, rhinoceros, even tiger.

Why not 'otter, boar, wild sheep, buffalo, rhinocoros, and even tiger'?

Well, my understanding is, 'sheep, buffalo, rhinoceros, even tiger' are all modified by 'wild' (i.e. ...and wild ones [ones=sheep, buffalo, rhinoceros, even tiger]), but I'm not sure on this one.

Am I right or wrong?



I think that 'wild' refers to only 'sheep', Taka but I'm not sure that the distinction needs to be made. Had sheep been domesticated by that time. This area of study is not my long suit.
Hi Taka--long time, no see.

I don't think that 'wild' is the key. I myself would have written it as you suggested, with the 'and' appearing only after the penultimate list item; I think perhaps the writer was trying to either (1) make the long list more varied for the reader (a point of style) or (2) indicate that the first two items (otter & boar) were relatively common prey (after deer, the commonest) while the latter four were less common-- with 'tiger', at the end, the rarest.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Hmm...do you mean the collocation-wild buffalo, wild rhinocoros, wild tiger-is grammatically imposssible?
No-- just that 'wild' is redundant, so it is semantically unexpected. I don't believe Peking Man had any domesticated rhinoceri or tigers.
Isn't it possible to take that 'wild' as something like 'fierce'? Otter and boar shouldn't have been domesticated either. Maybe it's a contrast between 'otter, boar=rather peaceful and/or slow, and relatively easy to catch' vs. 'sheep, buffalo, rhinocoros, even tiger=fierce and/or quick, and hard to catch'.

What do you think?
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Taka wrote:
Otter and boar shouldn't have been domesticated either.

RH: Taka, may I ask you a question? My question might seem a bit intrusive but I assure you it is not intended in this fashion. If you don't want to answer, that's fine.

Do you consider yourself to be an expert or even a person with a great deal of knowledge of Peking man and this era?
No. I'm not a palaeontologist or anything of that sort.

What is the point of your question? [:^)]
Thank you, Taka, for your response.

The reason for my question is this. I believe that something you wrote was possibly, semantically inappropriate for the situation. I viewed it as a valuable teaching moment and I hope you'll view it in the same manner.

You said:

"Isn't it possible to take that 'wild' as something like 'fierce'? Otter and boar shouldn't have been domesticated either."

Unless a person has some degree of personal knowledge on a subject and this usually equates to a fairly substantial level, using the modal 'should' sounds strange.

Read the following, please. It's from The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course.

+++++++++++++++
page 142

"Of the modals in the logical probability hierarchy, and are the most limited in that they do not work well for all situations.

A: I have flushed cheeks and a slight fever.

B: You (could/might/may/must/?will/*should) be coming down with something.

It appears that the speaker requires some special personal knowledge to make a present inference using ,will> or ... "
++++++++++++++++

Some time ago, Mr Micawber pointed out to a student that such a 'should' sounded strange. To make inferences when we have no special knowledge that equate to 'should' vis a vis certainty, we normally use 'probably' or 'likely'.

I'll suggest that in your sentence, even experts on Peking Man would shy away from 'should' and would opt for 'probably' because the situation seems to be more one of strict probability rather than a studied inference. I think this may even be more so with the negative .
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Show more