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Mason Lee
Mason Lee

English Singularity ##VERIFIED##

(English pronunciations of singularity from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus and from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary, both sources Cambridge University Press)

english Singularity


Because it has not happened yet, nobody really knows what the technological singularity will do, or if it will even happen. Nonetheless, the technological singularity has been a subject in many science fiction works, such as The Terminator, The Matrix, and the Borg in Star Trek. In most depictions of the singularity, machines have consciousness and humans are considered to be useless. The futurist (who studies about the future) and inventor Ray Kurzweil believes the Singularity will happen about the year 2045. The major impetus driving toward the singularity, according to Kurzweil, is that according to Moore's Law, computers are doubling in memory capacity every 18 months. According to Kurzweil, by 2029, computers will be as intelligent as human beings (see artificial intelligence).[1]

Another example that describes the concept that I am looking for would be a train moving from a complete stop. There is a precise moment when a train begins to move, though most often we describe that moment in terms of two distinct states when it was moving and when it was still. I am looking for the word to describe the moment when the movement began. I know that it is an infinitely dense moment and that is described by singularity. I am looking for the tense of that word, singularity, that completes the sentence.

There are two approaches one can take in addressing this challenge. One can take them to be fundamentally number neutral/plural terms or one can take them to be fundamentally singular terms. Regardless of which approach is adopted, the challenge is to account for those cases where the base assumption does not work. On the view that unmarked nouns are essentially number neutral terms, one needs a principled account for instances when that neutrality is not in evidence; on the view that unmarked nouns are essentially singular terms, one needs a principled account for instances where the singularity is not in evidence.Footnote 1

As pointed out above, though, the challenge for treating bare singulars as number neutral is to account for those cases where they receive a singular reading. Although this issue has not been addressed by Bale et al. (2010) and Görgülü (2012), Bliss (2004) offers a syntactic explanation. She argues that case-marked nouns are DPs since they are always interpreted as definite. DPs have a Number Phrase (NumP) in them, which is headed by a null Number head that bears a default singular feature, when it is not filled by the plural marker. This results in the singular interpretation of case-marked bare singulars. Non-case-marked bare singulars, though, are NPs and hence they are unspecified for number. While a solution like this explains the singularity of bare singulars that are also definite in case-marked argument positions and the existential copular construction, it does not predict the fact that the number interpretation is sensitive to the type of adjectival modification. Specifically, in the predicate position, a bare singular modified by a non-sub-type forming adjective, as in (6b), behaves as a singular term, yet it is not (necessarily) interpreted as definite. That is, it is not clear why handsome doctor in (6b) would include a NumP projection, while practitioner doctor in (6a) would merely be an NP.Footnote 8

I will now illustrate how the exclusive reading in (11a) is derived as an implicature via scalar reasoning, under the number neutral approach for plurals. Consider a scenario where exactly one child is playing ball on the street. This situation could be described as in (13), conveying the singularity directly, which is true iff exactly one child is playing. The core meaning of (11a), which I represent as C in (14), is an inclusive interpretation. C competes with the alternative statement in (13), in this scenario.Footnote 12

Let me recap the discussion so far: We have seen that taking bare singulars to denote number neutral sets may provide a simple solution for their number neutrality in certain positions, but is unable to handle their singularity in other positions. Furthermore, we have seen that Turkish bare plurals must in fact be analyzed as number neutral terms, rather than strict plural terms. Recall also that modification has a restrictive role in the cases where bare singulars denote number neutral readings, whereas it does not create a contrast in case-marked argument positions when bare singulars denote strictly singular interpretations only. Delaying the discussion of their status as kind terms until Sect. 4, I thus analyze bare singulars in Turkish as atomic predicates, as illustrated in (19).

Based on these differences, I take the representative object reading, as in (41b) and (41c), to be distinct from the DKP-based readings of plural kind terms, as in (42a). The nature of this reading will be clarified further in Sect. 6.1, but for now I adopt the following generalization reached in Dayal (2004): Singular kind terms are compatible with episodic contexts only if they stand for the whole species as a singleton representative/prototypical entity. This corresponds to singularity in syntactic terms, but they remain true to the notion of kind, being conceptually plural (cf. Jespersen 1927; Langford 1949; Carlson 1977; Heyer 1985, and Krifka et al. 1995).

One other solution would be to derive the singularity as a conversational implicature through a competition with the plural form, based on scalar reasoning (Grice 1975). However, this approach does not explain the modification puzzle, either. It also wrongly predicts a singular reading for bare singulars in the existential copular construction. Note though that its predictions cannot be tested in the non-case-marked direct object position since plurals and singulars are not available in this position interchangeably. We discuss this in Sect. 6.2.

THE WEIGHT OF SINGULARITY: MEANING AND STRUCTURE IN PUT OUT MORE FLAGS GERALD F. M ANNING University of Guelph E v e ly n Waugh's sixth novel, Put Out More Flags, deserves our attention because of its transitional place in the development of the author's attitudes, and also because of its entertaining look at England at the outset of the Second World War. But more than this it is a novel of far greater tonal subtlety and thematic complexity than many readers have discerned. It is frequently linkedand lightly dismissed - with Scoop as representing the end of Waugh's early satiric period; yet it surely marks as distinct a stage in Waugh's development as Brideshead Revisited. Examined in its own right, Put Out More Flags provides valuable insight into Waugh's early response to the war, and it offers a quite successful handling of themes which are common in Waugh's novels, particu larly the concern with the individual in a world largely hostile to individuality. This book, published in 1942, is primarily a novel about change, about the changes wrought by the war on individuals and about changes in ways of looking at war. It is therefore very much a child of its time, reflecting undoub tedly the anxieties of Waugh's own acquaintances and the absurdities of the first months of war. (Charles Rolo comments: "The Ministry of Information pas sages in Put Out More Flags are, of course, a parody; but I can vouch from firsthand experience that the parody is solidly founded in truth."1) As Waugh remarks in his dedicatory letter to Randolph Churchill, the book portrays that "odd, dead period before the Churchillian renaissance, which people called at the time the Great Bore W ar," and the characters are survivors of the pre-war years - individuals who particularly "have been disturbed in their habits by the rough intrusion of current history." In being dominated by change and disruption Put Out More Flags reflects Waugh's characteristic interest in the individual's struggle against modern mass culture and against the corporate nature of much of modern life. From his first novel through Sword of Honour Waugh presents protagonists who are essentially exiles2 - misfits or innocents who are enmeshed in situations larger than themselves and antagonistic to their customs and beliefs. The novels vary in tone (Waugh's irony ranges from comic absurdity to bitter cynicism) but the underlying theme remains constant. Black Mischief is a significant elaboration of this theme, because in the character of Basil Seal we find an extension of the E n g l is h S t u d ie s in C a n a d a , i i , 2, Summer 1976 2 2 8 English Studies in Canada central figure of the other novels to a protagonist who combines the role of observer and participant in a new way. The conflict is still between individual ity, even eccentricity, and a world of boring triviality and absurdity, but Basil personifies in both Black Mischief and Put Out More Flags a spirit of cavalier roguishness. In Basil (as distinct from Ambrose Silk, Tony Last, and others) we have a man of action, an adventurer who confronts the modern world on its own terms. Yet both Basil and Ambrose, in Put Out More Flags, are linked by their singularity," and they provide Waugh with an effective means of expressing the complexity of the problem of individuality. The complexity is achieved largely through the handling of tone. Although this novel displays Waugh's usual propensity for humour and absurdity, it differs markedly from Scoop, its playful precursor. Some of the sourness of Vile Bodies and Black Mischief has infiltrated the London atmosphere: boredom, emptiness, and nostalgia. "Change and decay in all around I see," chirps Uncle Theodore throughout Scoop, but the refrain now is more penetrating. As Frederick Stopp suggests, general dispersion is the "keynote of much of the book, the destruction of social and cultural pattern as when an ants' nest is disturbed."3 This dispersion is apparent everywhere in the novel, sometimes in a farcical context (as with Basil's adventures) and sometimes with bitter poig nancy (as...


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