at least the early Middle Ages.

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hhtt

Senior Member
Turkish
"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
    British English
    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.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    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
    British English
    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 :confused:. 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 :oops:
     
    Last edited:

    hhtt

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    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?
    Would you please explain what "follow the link" means?

    Thank you.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    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'.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Would you please explain what "follow the link" means?...
    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.
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    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
    English - U.S.
    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
    Turkish
    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
    British English
    "Everything in the store is at least half price." That would logically mean everything costs 50 percent or more of the original price
    :confused: 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
    English, USA
    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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