GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: XDF

The common belief of some linguists that each language is a perfect vehicle for the thoughts of the nation speaking it is in some ways the exact counterpart of the conviction of the Manchester school of economics that supply and demand will regulate everything for the best. Just as economists were blind to the numerous cases in which the law of supply and demand left actual wants unsatisfied, so also many linguists are deaf to those instances in which the very nature of a language calls forth misunderstandings in everyday conversation, and in which, consequently, a word has to be modified or defined in order to present the idea intended by the speaker: "He took his stick—no, not John's, but his own." No language is perfect, and if we admit this truth, we must also admit that it is not unreasonable to investigate the relative merits of different languages or of different details in languages.

Question List: 1 2

The misunderstanding presented by the author in lines 13-14 is similar to which of the following?

  • A X uses the word "you" to refer to a group, but Y thinks that X is referring to one person only.
  • B X mistakenly uses the word "anomaly" to refer to a typical example, but Y knows that "anomaly" means "exception."
  • C X uses the word "bachelor" to mean "unmarried man," but Y mistakenly thinks that bachelor means "unmarried woman."

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