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Jens
2013-Apr-21, 10:17 AM
Not a very serious question, but if there are triplets a, b, and c, and only a and b are present, would you introduce them as twins or as triplets?

Perikles
2013-Apr-21, 10:33 AM
Not a very serious question, but if there are triplets a, b, and c, and only a and b are present, would you introduce them as twins or as triplets?As ever, it depends on how you define twin. The OED defines a twin in the singular as "one of two children brought forth at birth". To me, that would mean exactly two, not two or more, so one of the above is not a twin, but a triplet, and the two are not twins.

On the other hand, if there had been triplets and only two survived, it would seem daft not to lapse into calling them twins.

TJMac
2013-Apr-21, 11:55 AM
My sister had twin boys, and a third, obviously younger, girl child.

When they were in their teens, the boys started introducing themselves as triplets, "Except smoking stunted her growth..."

It always amused me, but some people didn't get it.

TJ

DonM435
2013-Apr-21, 01:53 PM
Treat them as individuals, and don't bring up their birth timing? (I suspect that I wouldn't like being considered a part of a set.) ;)

Shaula
2013-Apr-21, 03:12 PM
Treat them as individuals, and don't bring up their birth timing? (I suspect that I wouldn't like being considered a part of a set.) ;)
You mean calling my friend John of Three is insensitive? Ooops, no wonder I never get Xmas cards from him.

Gillianren
2013-Apr-21, 03:33 PM
Treat them as individuals, and don't bring up their birth timing? (I suspect that I wouldn't like being considered a part of a set.) ;)

I have known four sets of twins in my life. With three of them, if you didn't mention it, the person being introduced to them would ask. My cousins now look different enough so that you could miss it, but the twins I met in college look more alike than they did then, somehow. And the twins who were in my physics class in high school? I was never sure which one I was talking to at any given moment. It's a good thing we were never close enough to share secrets! And in all four cases, they pretty much thought of themselves as part of a set. The ones I met in college even just about shared a personality--though when I got them presents at the holidays, I got four presents. Their birthday was December twenty-third, you see, and I made sure that I never did the "here's for both of you for Christmas and your birthday!" Even if all they got from me was cookies, they got four plates of cookies.

And I'd introduce the pair in the OP as two of a set of triplets.

Trebuchet
2013-Apr-21, 04:04 PM
You mean calling my friend John of Three is insensitive? Ooops, no wonder I never get Xmas cards from him.

Two of Three would be worse.

Trebuchet
2013-Apr-21, 04:09 PM
Oh, and during WWII, my mother boarded for a couple of years with a family that had twin girls her age. They remained lifelong friends. One of the girls suggested they go to a USO dance at the local Naval Air Station (right in the center of Kansas!) and they both met sailors they ended up marrying, resulting in me.

Anyhow, one of the twins is fairly obsessed with the subject, attending twin conventions and writing a couple of books she had published by a vanity press. The other can't stand the subject. They're fraternal twins, by the way.

Perikles
2013-Apr-21, 05:00 PM
They're fraternal twins, by the way.That sounds so wrong to me for females. How about sororal or dizygotic?

SeanF
2013-Apr-21, 05:21 PM
If only one is present, do you introduce that person as a triplet, a twin, or just by name? :)

Nick Theodorakis
2013-Apr-21, 06:10 PM
If only one is present, do you introduce that person as a triplet, a twin, or just by name? :)

In what kind of context would it matter to bring up the status of siblinghood (if that's a word)?

Nick

Gillianren
2013-Apr-21, 06:33 PM
If the person being introduced knows one of the others? Or if the person doing the introducing talks about one of the others more often? "This is X, Y's sibling/significant other/roommate/whatever" is a relatively common introduction, I think.

Nick Theodorakis
2013-Apr-21, 06:39 PM
I was too abrupt. To amplify what I was saying, if it is in a context in which you might have mentioned another sibling, then I don't see a problem, but if it is an extraneous detail than I don't see why should bring it up.

Nick

DonM435
2013-Apr-21, 07:15 PM
Come to think of it, most twins I've known really did seem to self-identify as part of a set. It's just that I wouldn't presume to do that on one's behalf.

swampyankee
2013-Apr-21, 07:53 PM
Not a very serious question, but if there are triplets a, b, and c, and only a and b are present, would you introduce them as twins or as triplets?

Neither. I may introduce them as siblings ("here's Clyde and his brother Clarence"). They can chose to identify themselves as twins, triplets, whatever themselves.

Trebuchet
2013-Apr-21, 09:30 PM
If the person being introduced knows one of the others? Or if the person doing the introducing talks about one of the others more often? "This is X, Y's sibling/significant other/roommate/whatever" is a relatively common introduction, I think.

"This is my brother Darryl and this is my other brother Darryl."

Tobin Dax
2013-Apr-21, 10:36 PM
You mean calling my friend John of Three is insensitive? Ooops, no wonder I never get Xmas cards from him.

Use the "Spanglish" version instead: Juan of Three. :D

Jens
2013-Apr-21, 11:06 PM
Well, the context is a riddle, which some people may know. I won't give the answer, but thread title gives it away. Just as a spoiler alert.

So:

Sally and Susan were born at the same hospital on the same day from the same mother, and yet they aren't twins. How is this possible?

I was just wondering if technically it's fair.

DonM435
2013-Apr-22, 12:41 AM
I'm told that it's not impossible for fraternal twins to have different fathers.

Nick Theodorakis
2013-Apr-22, 01:08 AM
This is an old joke that relates to the subject of the original post in this thread. I'll try to make the punch line a color hard to see for spoiler reasons:

They are not twins, but two out of a set of triplets.

Nick

Noclevername
2013-Apr-22, 01:23 AM
Twins and triplets are indeed a valid differentiation for purposes of that riddle.

Gillianren
2013-Apr-22, 02:14 AM
I was just wondering if technically it's fair.

Yup. Though I do have a second possible answer, if you prefer.

Jens
2013-Apr-22, 03:39 AM
Yup. Though I do have a second possible answer, if you prefer.

I'm not sure what you're thinking. But I can think of several other possible answers, going up to maybe octuplets? But maybe you're thinking of something more esoteric.

Gillianren
2013-Apr-22, 04:30 AM
The riddle doesn't specify anything about a year. My mother had two children in September, and the doctor even offered her the chance to give them both the same birthday. However, they're also six years apart.

Perikles
2013-Apr-22, 05:20 AM
The riddle doesn't specify anything about a year. My mother had two children in September, and the doctor even offered her the chance to give them both the same birthday. However, they're also six years apart.But it says "the same day". If you claim that it could mean the same day of the year, then it could also mean the same day of any month or any week, making the riddle rather pointless.

Jens
2013-Apr-22, 06:47 AM
The riddle doesn't specify anything about a year. My mother had two children in September, and the doctor even offered her the chance to give them both the same birthday. However, they're also six years apart.

I usually think of "the same day" as meaning "the same 24-hour period," but if a person brought that up you could say "the same day of the same month of the same year" or something.

But come to think of it, there might be another solution, involving a large relativistic spaceship with a hospital on board and an outside observer...

Noclevername
2013-Apr-22, 07:39 AM
The birth takes place on a planet with day longer than 9 months?

Jens
2013-Apr-22, 08:34 AM
This is an old joke that relates to the subject of the original post in this thread.

Would you call it a joke? I normally call those things "riddles." I think a riddle can be a joke if the punchline is supposed to make you laugh (or at least groan), but not if it's serious.

For example, I think this is a joke (though not a very good one!)
Why do birds fly south?
Because it's too far to walk.

But the one about, what walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening? is just a riddle, isn't it?

HenrikOlsen
2013-Apr-22, 09:53 AM
The riddle doesn't specify anything about a year. My mother had two children in September, and the doctor even offered her the chance to give them both the same birthday. However, they're also six years apart.
As I would interpret it, "same day" does indeed stipulate same year, since different years would make it different days.
"Same date" doesn't stipulate anything about the year.

But that might be influenced by the use in computer programming.

Jim
2013-Apr-22, 12:34 PM
... they both met sailors they ended up marrying, resulting in me. ...

Uh ... yeah.
:confused:

Trebuchet
2013-Apr-22, 02:47 PM
Uh ... yeah.
:confused:

My wife is now wondering why I'm laughing out loud. For the record, only one of the sailors resulted in me. As far as I know.

Gillianren
2013-Apr-22, 03:16 PM
But it says "the same day". If you claim that it could mean the same day of the year, then it could also mean the same day of any month or any week, making the riddle rather pointless.

I don't see that at all. If my mother had two children on September 10, they would have been born on the same day; we'd celebrate their birthday on the same day. (In practical terms, we did anyway, of course, but technically, the younger one is on the ninth.) However, if I'd been born on December 10, I wouldn't count myself as being born on the same day as my older sister.

Perikles
2013-Apr-22, 04:43 PM
I don't see that at all. If my mother had two children on September 10, they would have been born on the same day; we'd celebrate their birthday on the same day. (In practical terms, we did anyway, of course, but technically, the younger one is on the ninth.) However, if I'd been born on December 10, I wouldn't count myself as being born on the same day as my older sister.This reminds me about the ambiguity about two people with the same birthday. If two people have the same birthday, does it mean the same day of the year, or could it also mean born on the same day of the same year? (which I think would make them what others call cosmic twins). Birthday can mean the exact date on which you were born, or the celebration of said event in later years (the OED gives these two definitions anyway).

Gillianren
2013-Apr-22, 05:43 PM
I suspect the whole thing is as high in my thoughts as it is because my sisters' birthdays are so close together--and my older sister was always said to have been born on "the same day" as our grandmother, who was a wee bit older than my older sister, of course.

swampyankee
2013-Apr-22, 05:45 PM
Two of Three would be worse.

And if there were two missing nonuplets?

SeanF
2013-Apr-22, 07:12 PM
And if there were two missing nonuplets?
You say, "This is Annika," of course.

NEOWatcher
2013-Apr-22, 07:56 PM
This reminds me about the ambiguity about two people with the same birthday.
Hard to say, but I usually think same "day" as the same date.
But; with birthdays I usually think same day of the month/year, and normally hear people explicitely state "date" if it's not.

I have a friend that had triplets. One died soon after birth, another over a year after birth. The word "triplet" never really came up much unless if it were in a very specific situation.

That friend also has twins, and a coworker also has twins with other children. In those cases, the word "twin" only comes up to differentiate them from there other siblings.

Otherwise it's always by name, or "here is one of my kids", "...two of...", etc.

I also have a friend with twins born about a week apart from each other.

Nick Theodorakis
2013-Apr-22, 08:45 PM
FWIW, I have identical (presumably, not been tested) twin daughters, and I don't usually mention their zygotic history unless it comes up in conversation.

Nick

Tobin Dax
2013-Apr-23, 12:22 AM
You say, "This is Annika," of course.

:clap: I really do love this place.

Noclevername
2013-Apr-23, 12:52 AM
Trivia: The Olsen Twins are fraternal, not identical.

Nick Theodorakis
2013-Apr-23, 01:23 AM
The Olsen twins were sometimes a subject of a multiples parenting usenet group I used to be involved in. As far as anyone could find out (at least at that time), the only evidence was that the OB said so, but doctors are sometimes wrong on that point. (Separate placentas used to be considered an indicator of dizygosity, but that has found not to be the case). Anecdotaly, at least a couple of the mothers in that newsgroup had twins for which their doctors said were dizygotic, but upon genetic testing were found to be monozygotic. So unless the Olsen twins had a genetic test to reveal their zygosity status (or there is some other definitive sign like different blood types) I reserve judgement on that point.

Nick

Noclevername
2013-Apr-23, 01:46 AM
So unless the Olsen twins had a genetic test to reveal their zygosity status (or there is some other definitive sign like different blood types) I reserve judgement on that point.

Out of idle curiousity and boredom, I Googled the subject and found several claims that they'd had DNA testing, but always without citation. So I guess it's still up for question.

Solfe
2013-Apr-23, 03:41 AM
I have two children almost exactly 9 months apart in age. My wife and I having taken to simply saying "Why yes, they are twins." rather than run through the whole story that explain that our daughter was born alarmingly early.

Noclevername
2013-Apr-23, 05:36 AM
My sister and I were a year and a half apart, but people often asked if we were twins.

SeanF
2013-Apr-23, 01:41 PM
My sister and I were a year and a half apart, but people often asked if we were twins.
My brother and I were born almost three years apart, and people often asked if we were twins. Yes, I was somewhat small for my age.

Now, in fact, people often think he's older than I am.

Nick Theodorakis
2013-Apr-23, 02:48 PM
Out of idle curiousity and boredom, I Googled the subject and found several claims that they'd had DNA testing, but always without citation. So I guess it's still up for question.

I don't have anything invested in the answer one way or the other (if they say they did, that's good enough for me. Or maybe they just decided it's no one else's business. which is also ok), but was just using the comment to point out that the determination of zygosity at birth is often bogus. People have often been surprised that we didn't actually know for sure if our daughters were mono- or dizygotic, and when they ask if the doctors knew, were also surprised to here me ask "how would they know?"

Here (http://multiples.about.com/od/funfacts/a/Parents-Misinformed-About-Zygosity.htm) is a "layman's" explanation of the difficulties in making that determination from placental examination, although there are some mistakes or oversimplifications. They talk about splitting of the "egg" to form MZ twins, but it happens much later, for example probably by division of the inner cell mass at the blastocyst stage for twins that share a placenta. And there are some subtleties about what parts of the placenta they can share.

There are two layers to the extra-embryonic membranes, the amnion ("sac"), which is derived from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst (which also gives rise to the embryo itself) and the chorion, which is derived partly from the trophoblast (outer layer of the blastocyst) and partly from the extra-embyonic mesoderm. The chorion will later invade and fuse with the maternal endometrium to form the placenta.

About a quarter of MZ twins are dichorionic (DC), and by necessity also diamniotic (DA), so they will have two placentas, just like dizygotic twins do. So that is not a definitive test for zygosity. The remainder will be monochorionic (MC), with most of these being diamniotic (two "sacs," one placenta). Being MC would be a definitive indicator of MZ twinning, except for the fact that during pregnancy two separate placentas can kind of smoosh together and appear to be as one by gross casual examination. A small number of DZ MZ [edited] twins are MC/monoamniotic, which would be a definitive indicator of MZ twins. Note these are considered high risk pregnancies because of potential issues with things like cord entanglement or compression.

Note that because of the complications of fetal circulation, MC twins can have pretty large discordances in birth weight.

Nick

Gillianren
2013-Apr-23, 03:18 PM
I don't have anything invested in the answer one way or the other (if they say they did, that's good enough for me. Or maybe they just decided it's no one else's business. which is also ok), but was just using the comment to point out that the determination of zygosity at birth is often bogus. People have often been surprised that we didn't actually know for sure if our daughters were mono- or dizygotic, and when they ask if the doctors knew, were also surprised to here me ask "how would they know?"

One of the sets of twins I know have been apparent pretty much since birth to be dizygotic. I mean, they both pretty much just looked like babies at the time, but one was longer and thinner than the other. By the time they were two, it was obvious to the casual eye. Though, now that I think about it, none of the twins I've known have been certain--three sets were both boys, and one was both girls.

SeanF
2013-Apr-23, 03:36 PM
A small number of DZ twins are MC/monoamniotic, which would be a definitive indicator of MZ twins.
This confuses me.

Nick Theodorakis
2013-Apr-23, 03:41 PM
A small number of DZ twins are MC/monoamniotic, which would be a definitive indicator of MZ twins.
This confuses me.

Mistake. Should read :

"A small number of MZ twins are MC/monoamniotic, which would be a definitive indicator of MZ twins."

I'll see if I can edit.

Nick

Buttercup
2013-Apr-23, 03:46 PM
My brother and I were born almost three years apart, and people often asked if we were twins...

My sister is 2 years older than me, and our parents were asked that a lot when we were little. I'm not sure how, as sister always had soft brown hair and I was a sunny blonde until age 6. We never looked like twins, to my eye, on looking back at photos.

Jim
2013-Apr-23, 05:38 PM
I remember in grade school (4th?) we had three sets of twins ... two brothers, two sisters, and two boys totally unrelated who were dead ringers for each other.

Jens
2013-Apr-23, 11:03 PM
and two boys totally unrelated who were dead ringers for each other.

Maybe a mistake at the hospital!

Solfe
2013-Apr-25, 01:05 AM
I worked with three of guys, who's wives each had triplets. All in the same year, one right after the other. It was really weird.

From that point forward, anyone who went on maturity leave would specifically state "I am having A baby" or "I will be back after THE baby." It never got old.

Trebuchet
2013-Apr-25, 02:02 AM
My cousin has three daughters, two tall and blonde, one short and dark. And two of them are twins. Just not the two you'd think!

Jim
2013-Apr-25, 12:13 PM
My cousin has three daughters, two tall and blonde, one short and dark. And two of them are twins. Just not the two you'd think!

I read the first sentence and thought, "I'll bet one of the blondes and the brunette are twins." But then you said it wasn't the two I'd think. So it must be the two blondes, But that's what most people would think. So it should be ... But ... So ...
:confused:
Ow! My head hurts.

Trebuchet
2013-Apr-25, 02:53 PM
I read the first sentence and thought, "I'll bet one of the blondes and the brunette are twins." But then you said it wasn't the two I'd think. So it must be the two blondes, But that's what most people would think. So it should be ... But ... So ...
:confused:
Ow! My head hurts.

I sort of expected that!

TJMac
2013-May-05, 02:10 AM
The riddle doesn't specify anything about a year. My mother had two children in September, and the doctor even offered her the chance to give them both the same birthday. However, they're also six years apart.

My mother had three children in October. On the 13th. That was out of eight children.

The riddle doesn't work for my family, however, we were all delivered at home.

TJ