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On 14 Feb 2005, at 11.51 pm, caeruleancentaur wrote:

> --- In [log in to unmask], Andreas Johansson <andjo@F...> wrote:
> Quoting caeruleancentaur <caeruleancentaur@Y...>:
>
>>> http://www.rickharrison.com/language/damin.html
>>>
>>> "...thuu is used for large sea-dwelling mammals such as dugongs and
>>> turtles,..."
>>>
>>> I'd like to pick a nit.  Surely the author knows that turtles are
>>> not mammals.  I can only see this as another example of believing ?
>>> that the words "animal" and "mammal" are synonymous.
>
>> Possibly, it's meant to parse as " .. for {large sea-dwelling
>> mammals such as dugongs} and [for] {turtles} ...".
>
>                                                  Andreas
>
> IMHO I doubt it.  Why not, then, write just that?

Because both are correct. One's ambiguous, sure, but the ambiguity
wouldn't necessarily be noticed by the author. Even if he checked it,
he wouldn't necessarily even see the ambiguity, because you don't
always ... you see what you mean. It's why you get other people to read
your drafts.

> I don't know what
> happens in other English-speaking countries, but I have heard
> countless times in the USA an exchange such as the following:
>
> A: "The turtle is an animal."
> B: "I thought turtles were reptiles."

I certainly seem to think of mammals as the prototypical animals. I
have no real difficulty considering birds animals, but I would have to
think about whether insects are animals :) I'm not from the States.

However: it's always a case of animal becoming more specific than
traditionally defined, never mammal becoming more generic. I doubt that
the author meant to use mammal to refer to non-warm-blooded,
non-placental creatures that don't give milk or whatever an example of
a non-mammal is.

--
Tristan.