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インターネットを見ていて、「これは便利だと思ったiOSアプリたち」という記事を偶然読みました。「たち」は人間など[有生]{ゆうせい}のものを指している名詞にしか付かないと思っていましたが、このタイトルは反例ではないとは思えません。

「たち」をこういう使い方で使うのは本当に普通ですか。複数性を強調する場合、有生でないものには「等{ら}」を付けるのが普通だと思っていましたが…

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    すみません、「反例とは除けません」がちょっとわかりませんでした・・・ – Chocolate Apr 12 '16 at 16:31
  • @chocolate, thank you for your edit. By 「反例とは除けません」 I wanted to mean "I can't deny (this title) is a counter-example" to what I thought. – 永劫回帰 Apr 12 '16 at 16:38
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    So I think you wanted to say 「反例ではないとは思えません」. But this is kind of a "triple-negative" expression which sounds roundabout, so I would simply say その反例のように思えます. – naruto Apr 12 '16 at 18:06
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    ちなみに有生でないもの(無生物【むせいぶつ】)には普通「たち」も付かなければ「ら」も付かないです。あと「ども」も。 – broccoli forest Apr 16 '16 at 3:01
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I agree with you that たち is normally used with animate objects. One obvious exception for this rule is when explicit personification is involved. For example, sentences like 山たちが私に語りかけてきた, 乱暴に扱われた本たちが悲しんでいる are perfectly fine.

In your question, I think this アプリたち doesn't look that weird to me. Of course I'm not saying アプリたち is a kind of personification, but I feel something related is happening here. This title looks okay to me because the author has an personal attachment to those apps, and he wants to introduce them friendly and favorably.

I have seen similar expressions like 道具たち, ぬいぐるみたち and 曲たち many times, and such expressions are usually used by those who love them. I can easily find articles about 車たち written by car fans, articles about リンゴたち written by farmers, and so on. I'm not particularly interested in cars, so I probably haven't used 車たち in my entire life.

On the other hand, これは便利だと思ったiOSアプリ sounds clearly unnatural to me, because -ら doesn't have such "friendly" nuance at all. If showing plurality were the only purpose here, we just wouldn't need it in the first place.

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There's no firm distinction between たち and ら at least in modern spoken Japanese except that the latter may sound old-fashioned.

For the particular quote above, it sounds a bit like a translation from English, as is common with tech curated blogs. But it's still within natural and common Japanese of today.

あと、日本語では複数形は特に明示しないことが多いのをお忘れなく。

公園で子供が水鉄砲で遊んでいる。

この例文では恐らく子供も水鉄砲も複数あることでしょう。

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