Language development is conceived as relative to one's own past performance, or relative to that of others.

I do not understand these parts : is conceived as relative and that

I checked the dictionary.

"conceive" has different meanings: 1: to imagine a particular situation or to think about something in a particular way 2: to think of a new idea and develop it in your mind 3: to become pregnant

"Relative" has two meanings. 1: having a particular quality when compared with sth else 2: connected with a particular subject

But I am not exactly sure which meanings are correct in this context. Unfortunately , there are no other sentences to have an educated guess. Can somebody please help me out?

  • Any chance you could cite a whole paragraph to give a little more context? – mathewb Oct 19 '17 at 14:56

Your confusion is reasonable. "Conceive" is not a good verb to use here. I would have instead used "measured". With that one change the sentence should make more sense:

Language development is measured relative to one's own past performance, or relative to that of others.

It's still an awkward sentence. I would have written it out explicitly:

We often measure our "language development" relative to our own past ability in that language, or relative to the performance of others who are also learning that language.

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