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The following is an excerpt from my English textbook:

These beautiful hats are replicas of Gwanmo. The kings of Korea often gave them to local leaders as rewards for their loyalty. The hats are well-known for their delicate patterns.

I wonder what "them" refers to. Is it "these beautiful hats" or "Gwanmo" (meaning: a crown hat in Korean)? Those "beautiful hats" are not originals but just replicas, so does the pronoun "them" refer to "Gwanmo"? Or, as "Gwamno" is a singular proper noun, does "them" refer to "these beautiful hats"? I'd like to know if a singular proper noun could use a "them".

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  • as "Gwamno" is a singular proper noun - My knowledge of Korean is not very strong, but nouns in Korean aren't really marked for singular or plural, so gwanmo could mean either one crown, or crowns in general.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jun 1, 2022 at 14:59
  • You can probably answer this yourself. Did the kings of Korea give Gwanmo to local leaders or replicas of Gwanmo?
    – gotube
    Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 0:55

1 Answer 1

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Logically, it has to be the Gwanmo, the original hats, because the historical kings did not give the replicas in front of the speaker or listener, they gave the original hats. Apparently "gwanmo" is being used here as a plural noun. Sometimes foreign words are not given English plural markings, and are instead used like irregular plural nouns (think "deer", not "rice"). This is usually because the foreign words would not be pluralized in their language in a similar way to how English does it-- that is to say, they would not add an "s" on the end in the non-English language.

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  • Yes, but not "logically". You are using common sense, so you could say "pragmatically", but not "logically".
    – James K
    Commented Jun 1, 2022 at 15:43
  • That's only true if you know what Gwanmo are. If you don't, then it logically defaults to these beautiful hats. Commented Jun 1, 2022 at 15:54
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    Yet, there's a bit of logic here, and I think that's both logical and common sense. Where common sense and logic coincide that is often declared to be ‘self-evident’. +1 :) Commented Jun 1, 2022 at 17:03
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    @swmcdonnell But we do know enough about what they are: we're told that the hats are replicas of them.
    – Dan Getz
    Commented Jun 1, 2022 at 17:10

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