exchanges vs contacts

jianghuicecile

Senior Member
Hi,

here

A)Since 2015 the overall relationship between China and the United States has remained stable and even made new progress. The two countries have maintained close contacts at the leadership and other levels.

B)The two countries have maintained communication and coordination in the field of Asia-Pacific affairs through bilateral exchanges and relevant mechanisms at all levels

(source:Full text: China's Policies on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation)

AND
exchange: N-COUNT An exchange is an arrangement in which people from two different countries visit each other's country, to strengthen links between them.

...a series of sporting and cultural exchanges with Seoul...

...educational exchanges for young people...

contact:a condition in which two or more individuals or groups are placed in communication with each other. Cf. contact - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

I think A) and B) enjoy the same context, so the two words can be exchanged for each other in use?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I think A) and B) enjoy the same context, so can the two words be exchanged for each other in use?
    Please note the word order in questions. :thumbsup:

    No - they are not interchangeable. The English on the Chinese government website is not particularly idiomatic. The plural "contacts" means "people from America and China who know each other well" - I would have expected the singular, uncountable "contact"

    "Bilateral exchanges" could describe a person or group of one nationality visiting and working with the other nationality, or it could mean "exchanges of information/opinion."
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    No, the meanings are quite different in those examples. Contacts could certainly not be replaced by exchanges (to “maintain close contact with” is an idiom anyway). And replacing exchanges with contacts might work grammatically but it would not be idiomatic and the particular meaning would be lost.


    slowly cross-posted and agreeing
     

    jianghuicecile

    Senior Member
    Please note the word order in questions. :thumbsup:

    No - they are not interchangeable. The English on the Chinese government website is not particularly idiomatic. The plural "contacts" means "people from America and China who know each other well" - I would have expected the singular, uncountable "contact"

    "Bilateral exchanges" could describe a person or group of one nationality visiting and working with the other nationality, or it could mean "exchanges of information/opinion."
    Thanks, can I replace the "bilateral exchanges" with "bilateral communication" in B)?
     

    jianghuicecile

    Senior Member
    No, the meanings are quite different in those examples. Contacts could certainly not be replaced by exchanges (to “maintain close contact with” is an idiom anyway). And replacing exchanges with contacts might work grammatically but it would not be idiomatic and the particular meaning would be lost.


    slowly cross-posted and agreeing
    Thanks, can bilateral exchanges be repalced with bilateral communication here?
     

    jianghuicecile

    Senior Member
    Please note the word order in questions. :thumbsup:

    No - they are not interchangeable. The English on the Chinese government website is not particularly idiomatic. The plural "contacts" means "people from America and China who know each other well" - I would have expected the singular, uncountable "contact"

    "Bilateral exchanges" could describe a person or group of one nationality visiting and working with the other nationality, or it could mean "exchanges of information/opinion."
    In most cases, contact is uncountable noun, but New Oxford explain it as follows:
    a meeting, communication, or relationship with someone
    eg: they have forged contacts with key people in business

    So,how about this explanation? does this make sense here, for close contacts in your opinion?

    Thanks in advance!
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    but New Oxford explains it as follows:
    a meeting, communication, or relationship with someone
    eg: they have forged contacts with key people in business
    You seem to have misread the dictionary. What the dictionary means is

    "either (i) a meeting, (ii) communication, or (iii) relationship with someone depending upon the context in which the word is used - the words are not fully interchangeable in all contexts."

    does this make sense here, for
    close contacts in your opinion?
    No.

    The two countries have maintained close contacts at the leadership and other levels.

    The verb "maintain" is usually used with the uncountable "contact". (i.e. interaction) because of the nuances of the verb "maintain" which means to nurture/to take care of/to support and sounds, to an extent, as if the "maintaining of contacts" is not genuine but a means to a calculated end.
     

    jianghuicecile

    Senior Member
    You seem to have misread the dictionary. What the dictionary means is

    "either (i) a meeting, (ii) communication, or (iii) relationship with someone depending upon the context in which the word is used - the words are not fully interchangeable in all contexts."

    No.

    The two countries have maintained close contacts at the leadership and other levels.

    The verb "maintain" is usually used with the uncountable "contact". (i.e. interaction) because of the nuances of the verb "maintain" which means to nurture/to take care of/to support and sounds, to an extent, as if the "maintaining of contacts" is not genuine but a means to a calculated end.
    Thanks for your suggestion, but it is hard for me to understand, as this is from the offical text, I supposed they would like to try to imitate the idomatic usage, but hard to 100 percent.

    And ,another question, the as if -clause is often used with subjunctive mood, but here is not, so you want to say "the "maintaining of contacts" is not genuine but a means to a calculated end" is true or very likely to happen?

    Thanks in advance!
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The two countries have maintained close contacts at the leadership and other levels.

    It’s tempting to think that whoever wrote the above might have been under the mistaken impression that the word “contact” had to be plural because two levels of contact are mentioned.

    There is nothing intrinsically wrong with adding an “s” to “contact” and thus turning it into a countable noun. But doing that tends to make this particular sentence sound unnatural, because of the more frequent uncountable use of contact, and especially its use in the idiomatic phrase “maintain close contact” (= keep closely in touch).
     

    jianghuicecile

    Senior Member
    The two countries have maintained close contacts at the leadership and other levels.

    It’s tempting to think that whoever wrote the above might have been under the mistaken impression that the word “contact” had to be plural because two levels of contact are mentioned.

    There is nothing intrinsically wrong with adding an “s” to “contact” and thus turning it into a countable noun. But doing that tends to make this particular sentence sound unnatural, because of the more frequent uncountable use of contact, and especially its use in the idiomatic phrase “maintain close contact” (= keep closely in touch).

    Thanks, as you see, even if it is the government offical text, it is hard to avoid Chinglish which was taken for granted by most Chinesemen as it was extensively used. Although it is not idomatic, I supposed that a native speaker could understand it for it is grammartically correct.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I just took a quick look at your link, and the English of that article seems fine. It certainly doesn’t read like Chinglish.

    (Note the correct spelling of grammatically.)
     

    jianghuicecile

    Senior Member
    I just took a quick look at your link, and the English of that article seems fine. It certainly doesn’t read like Chinglish.

    (Note the correct spelling of grammatically.)

    Surely, they usually invite foreign language experts to proofread or polish those governement documents.
    maybe it's my fault, the way I learn English is not correct.
    sorry for the typo
     
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