What remains, though

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joh2001smile

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,
The sentences seem to be simple but I couldn't see the relevance of "what remains, though, are these ...." with the previous part. Could anyone help me?
Context:
Asian countries are increasingly connected to other countries within and beyond Asia. These connections only enhance and increase the rapidity of the Asian evolution. What remains, though, are these connections between these different countries.
 
  • winklepicker

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    Asian countries are increasingly connected to other countries within and beyond Asia. These connections only enhance and increase the rapidity of the Asian evolution. What remains, though, are these connections between these different countries.
    If it's any help, joh2001, the passage doesn't make a whole heap of sense, and seems (to this jaundiced eye) to be an example of muddled thinking.

    Let's unpick it a chunk at a time:

    1. Asian countries are increasingly connected to other countries within and beyond Asia.

    = Asian countries are increasingly connected to other countries.

    2. These connections only enhance and increase the rapidity of the Asian evolution.

    = These connections speed up Asian evolution.

    3. What remains, though, are these connections between these different countries.


    = Despite this, the connections between the countries continue to exist.

    Unless I've read it wrong (someone will undoubtedly hasten to let me know!), the statements are linked by a though which is completely meaningless in the context. In fact the whole thing is either meaningless, or so obvious as to be not worth saying.

    It's probably academic-speak, in which all rules of meaning are jettisoned in favour of impressive-sounding concepts. Not that I'm bitter...
     
    Last edited:

    joh2001smile

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    If it's any help, joh2001, the passage doesn't make a whole heap of sense, and seems (to this jaundiced eye) to be an example of muddled thinking.

    Let's unpick it a chunk at a time:

    1. Asian countries are increasingly connected to other countries within and beyond Asia.

    = Asian countries are increasingly connected to other countries.

    2. These connections only enhance and increase the rapidity of the Asian evolution.

    = These connections speed up Asian evolution.

    3. What remains, though, are these connections between these different countries.

    = Despite this, the connections between the countries continue to exist.

    Unless I've read it wrong (someone will undoubtedly hasten to let me know!), the statements are linked by a though which is completely meaningless in the context. In fact the whole thing is either meaningless, or so obvious as to be not worth saying.

    It's probably academic-speak, in which all rules of meaning are jettisoned in favour of impressive-sounding concepts. Not that I'm bitter...
    Could you kindly let me know what do you mean by "someone will undoubtedly hasten to let me know!" ?
     

    winklepicker

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    Could you kindly let me know what do you mean by "someone will undoubtedly hasten to let me know!" ?
    Gladly. It means "it's a certainty that some interfering so-and-so will come rushing to tell me that I've goofed off". Have you never noticed how quick people are to censure, and how slow to praise?

    :)
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    My reading:

    The first two sentences say that Asian countries are becoming more connected to countries which causes rapid change (evolution) in the Asian countries, as was said above.

    I think the point of "though" in the third sentence is to contrast the rapid change of Asia with the lack of change in the connections with the outside countries: everything else changes but the connections remain.

    I agree that this is not a very interesting thing to say. Maybe if we had the following sentence, we would understand why the author included this. Or perhaps we wouldn't.

    [I think I'm differing from winklepicker only in the amount of significance I give to "though". I hope this doesn't fall under the category of being "quick to censure". ;)]
     
    Last edited:

    joh2001smile

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Cagey,
    Thank you, I guess I understand what you mean that the structure, esp. the word "though" is used to contrast: everything else changes but the connections remain. But there comes another question, if the contrast is to be highlighted, why the word "only" is used instead of "greatly" or "significantly"? The word "only" kind of destroyed the logic of the sentences.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Cagey,
    Thank you, I guess I understand what you mean that the structure, esp. the word "though" is used to contrast: everything else changes but the connections remain. But there comes another question, if the contrast is to be highlighted, why the word "only" is used instead of "greatly" or "significantly"? The word "only" kind of destroyed the logic of the sentences.
    It is true that "only" often is a disparaging word, meaning that not much is accomplished: "He only moved a few papers around. He didn't really get much done."

    However, it also can also emphasize what follows, meaning that something has the effect described "entirely, completely":
    These connections only enhance and increase the rapidity of the Asian evolution.
    This means that the final effect of the connections was to increase the rapidity of the evolution. They did nothing that worked against increasing the rapidity, and much that helped it.

    This use is closest to the meaning of only described under adverb: #2 in the WR dictionary.
     

    joh2001smile

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Cagey,
    Thank you, to be frank, it seems difficult for me to understand the nuance between #1 and #2 on the page you provided. I looked it up in some big English-Chinese dictionaries I am available and found only one explanation under "adv.". Maybe in the eyes of the Chinese, the dictionary composers at least, they mean the same thing. It seems that I need trying more to capture the difference.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Cagey,
    Thank you, to be frank, it seems difficult for me to understand the nuance between #1 and #2 on the page you provided.
    I don't know that I can do much to explain, but I'll try to offer an example or two.

    The smudge of flour on her cheek only made her more attractive. (It didn't make her less unappealing, but did the opposite.)

    When they told him he couldn't do it, he only became more determined to succeed. (He didn't become discouraged and give up, but the opposite.)

    These connections only enhance and increase the rapidity of Asian evolution. (They don't slow it down, by, for instance, making Asia dependent on the other countries, but they help Asia evolve more quickly.)
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Another problem with the sentence in question is that it is ungrammatical.

    "Remains" is singular, and requires a singular subject.
    "Are" is plural, and requires a plural subject.

    If the "what" is singular, then we need an "is".
    If the "what" is plural, we need "remain":

    Singular: We have discussed all of the items on the agenda except for the last one. What remains is the consideration of how much we should pay our new clerk.

    Plural: We have sold most of the vegetables we brought to the market. What remain are the peas, the mushrooms, and the tomatoes.
     
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