# at least the early Middle Ages.

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#### hhtt

##### Senior Member
"There has been a Jewish presence in France since at least the early Middle Ages."

Would explain the the phrase "at least the early Middle Ages."

I am especially confused by the role of "at least" there. Shouldn't it be "from the early Middle Ages"?

History of the Jews in France - Wikipedia

Thank you.

• #### Uncle Jack

##### Senior Member
No. The writer is unsure when the Jewish presence in France started. They know there has been a Jewish presence since the early Middle Ages, but there may have been an earlier presence.

##### Senior Member
There's a problem that we don't know what "the early Middle Ages" means (in Wikipedia's mind) If you follow the link on that phrase it tells you "lasting from the 5th to the 10th century" - so, AD 400 or AD 1000? For all I know of Jews in France, either date is perfectly plausible. But with this knowledge we can paraphrase Uncle Jack's answer as:

"They know there has been a Jewish presence since the year 1000, but there may have been a presence before AD 400." Pretty vague, isn't it?

#### Andygc

##### Senior Member
The phrase "at least" is understandably confusing. On the face of it it means "not numerically smaller than". However, in this instance it does not. Here it means "no later than" or "at the latest".

Jews have been present in France since at least AD 400.
They have perhaps been there earlier - from AD 300?
But 300 is a smaller number than 400 . It is, but AD 300 is earlier than AD 400 - English isn't logical.

Jews have been present in France for at least (2018-400) 1,618 years.
They have perhaps been there longer - from AD 300? - 1,718 years.
1,718 is a bigger number than 1,618 - English is now being logical.

EDIT Added the lost thousand years

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#### hhtt

##### Senior Member
There's a problem that we don't know what "the early Middle Ages" means (in Wikipedia's mind) If you follow the link on that phrase it tells you "lasting from the 5th to the 10th century" - so, AD 400 or AD 1000? For all I know of Jews in France, either date is perfectly plausible. But with this knowledge we can paraphrase Uncle Jack's answer as:

"They know there has been a Jewish presence since the year 1000, but there may have been a presence before AD 400." Pretty vague, isn't it?

Thank you.

#### heypresto

##### Senior Member
In the second sentence on the page your link goes to, you will see the words "early Middle Ages". If you click on them, you will be 'following the link'.

##### Senior Member
On Wikipedia (and other websites) the main text is black, but some words are in dark blue. If you move your cursor to those words, the words are underlined and the cursor changes into a pointing finger. This indicates that the words are a link leading you to another page or another website.

#### JulianStuart

##### Senior Member
Keith is referring to the link at the end of this quote from the wiki article
The history of the Jews in France deals with the Jews and Jewish communities in France. There has been a Jewish presence in France since at least the early Middle Ages.

#### RedwoodGrove

##### Senior Member
Another way of looking at it is "at least as long ago". You may come across this type of expression a lot in English. "Everything in the store is at least half price." That would logically mean everything costs 50 percent or more of the original price but in fact it means that the price has been reduced by at least 50 percent, thus it costs half of the original or less.

#### Egmont

##### Senior Member
Another way of looking at it is "at least as long ago". You may come across this type of expression a lot in English. "Everything in the store is at least half price." That would logically mean everything costs 50 percent or more of the original price but in fact it means that the price has been reduced by at least 50 percent, thus it costs half of the original or less.
It would be possible for a store owner, in a deliberate attempt to confuse customers, to have this sign and have items priced at 50% to 99% of their original prices. If a customer complained, the store owner could say "75% is at least 50%, isn't it?" I wonder what a lawyer would say about this practice.

Phrasing your sign as "Everything in the store reduced by at least 50%" would eliminate any possibility of confusion.

#### hhtt

##### Senior Member
Another way of looking at it is "at least as long ago". You may come across this type of expression a lot in English. "Everything in the store is at least half price." That would logically mean everything costs 50 percent or more of the original price but in fact it means that the price has been reduced by at least 50 percent, thus it costs half of the original or less.
If so, i.e if there is an unlogical case, aren't they been expressing it wrongly? So should they not correct it? Such situations are called literally as impaired expressions in my native.

Thank you.

#### Andygc

##### Senior Member
"Everything in the store is at least half price." That would logically mean everything costs 50 percent or more of the original price
That is what it means. I've never seen a shop having a sale where they say "at least half price" to mean "at most half price".

#### RedwoodGrove

##### Senior Member
If so, i.e if there is an unlogical case, aren't they been expressing it wrongly? So should they not correct it? Such situations are called literally as impaired expressions in my native.
Yes, they are expressing it wrongly. But you hear it all the time mixed in with more normal expressions.
I've never seen a shop having a sale where they say "at least half price" to mean "at most half price".
Ah, but you've never listened to much American radio, I bet. I think you're right that here in this litigious society a store has to be more careful with printed announcements. There are lawsuits to be made over this kind of stuff and lawyers to make them.

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