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Articles and the Givenness Hierarchy

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  • David J. Peterson
    [Warning: Long, and theory-laden.] In my languages, I ve traditionally avoided things like definite and indefinite articles because: (a) I don t like them, and
    Message 1 of 9 , May 1, 2005
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      [Warning: Long, and theory-laden.]

      In my languages, I've traditionally avoided things like definite
      and indefinite articles because: (a) I don't like them, and (b) I
      can't seem to avoid making them work like English (or Spanish).
      The result is that definiteness/indefiniteness isn't marked with
      articles in any of my languages. Nevertheless, something like
      definiteness (i.e., how salient the information presented should
      be to the hearer) is marked in every language, though differently
      for each. By trying to avoid the problem, I know doubt unwittingly
      reproduced English-like constructions.

      To that end, we recently read a paper in my pragmatics class
      which presented a theory about what the authors call givenness.
      The reference is:

      Gundel, J., N. Hedberg, R. Zacharski (1993). Cognitive Status and
      the Form of Referring Expressions in Discourse. Language,
      Vol. 69, 2:274-307.

      (It's available from jstor.org.)

      Anyway, I thought the *idea* presented was neat, and might be
      useful to conlangers, so I thought I'd give you the gist of it.

      [Note: I'm presenting this as an "if-this-were-true-it-might-be-
      cool" theory. The paper and theory have *many* problems. In
      fact, my pragmatics professor is writing a response to the article,
      since apparently no one else has critically reviewed it since it's
      original publication.]

      Okay, the givenness hierarchy. Essentially, the givenness
      hierarchy is a hierarchy of how "in focus" a given NP is. (How
      is "in focus" defined? You'd be hard-pressed to find an answer
      to that in the article. Think of it as "most relevant", but with a
      red flag attached.) This hierarchy has six members, arranged
      in a particular order. For any given member n, it is assumed
      that a hierarchical position that is < n will be entailed by n.
      Additionally, for any hierarchical position that is > n, it will be
      assumed that n will conversationally implicate *not* n+1, n+2,
      etc. That's a vague description, but just keep it in mind as
      we go along.

      The givenness hierarchy is as follows (going from least to
      greatest):

      1. Type Identifiable
      2. Referential
      3. Uniquely Identifiable
      4. Familiar
      5. Activated
      6. In Focus

      Now I'll define what they mean, using examples from English.
      For non-native speakers of English, some of these distinctions
      will be very subtle. For the purposes of the theory, you just
      have to trust that they work (that goes for anyone, actually.
      It's *very* easy to prove how these don't always work, but
      just pretend, for the sake of conlanging).

      1. Type Identifiable: An NP is type identifiable if it's brand new
      information. Pretty much, you just have to know what it is.

      English: a(n) NP

      Example: I saw a bird.

      Explanation: If you hear this sentence, you don't know what
      kind of car it is, and presumably have no memory of it. All
      you need to know is what a car is. The hearer is not assumed
      to have any knowledge of the entity itself.

      ***

      2. Referential: This is a reference to indefinite NP, but the
      hearer is supposed to understand that it's going to be the new
      topic of conversation, and that for the speaker, the entity is
      specified.

      English: this NP

      Example: I met this great guy yesterday.

      Explanation: According to Gundel et al., this construction is
      supposed to be less indefinite than using "a", but the hearer
      is supposed to recognize that the speaker has a specific one
      in mind, the way they don't when they say, "I want to own
      a house some day."

      ***

      3. Uniquely Identifiable: The hearer can identify the referent
      just by hearing the NP.

      English: the NP

      Example: I saw the bird.

      Explanation: Compare this one to the example in (1). Imagine
      a friend walked up to you and opened up the conversation
      with, "I saw the bird." If you didn't have a bird in mind, you'd
      be pretty bewildered, and would say, "What bird?" That would
      be signaling to the speaker that their use of "the" was inappropriate,
      because you weren't able to determine the specific referent
      based on the NP alone.

      ***

      4. Familiar: An NP is, to a certain extent, in the hearer's long
      term memory.

      English: that NP

      Example: That dog kept me awake last night.

      Explanation: The example above is *not* when the dog is
      present and is being pointed out. This is, perhaps, said at work
      where there are no dogs present. In order to use a sentence
      like this one, the hearer has to have had conversations about
      a specific dog over a long enough period of time that they can
      recognize which dog is being talked about when they hear
      "that dog".

      ***

      5. Activated: An NP is in the hearer's short term memory.

      English: that, this, this NP

      Example: I saw that.

      Explanation: The above example might be a response to, say,
      "I saw Kung Fu Hustle the other day". If something is activated,
      it's in the discourse, or was only a short time before.

      ***

      6. In Focus: This is as prominent and relevant as an NP can
      be--it's "on stage".

      English: pronouns

      Example: It's on the table.

      Explanation: In order to use a pronoun, the theory is that the
      hearer has to know exactly what's being discussed. It's the
      most prominent, most relevant, most salient entity in the
      discourse.

      ***

      Okay, that's the hierarchy. To rephrase what I stated above
      using examples, the theory is that something higher up in
      the hierarchy entails something lower down in the hierarchy.
      So if you say, "That's the dog", it entails that there is "a dog".
      Additionally, the theory states that something lower down in
      the hierarchy will conversationally implicate *not* something
      higher up in the hierarchy. That is, a speaker will produce
      the member highest in the hierarchy that they can get away
      with, based on hearer knowledge. So it would be weird to
      say:

      A: "Hey, have you seen my dog?"
      B: "Yes, I've seen a dog."

      B's statement is true, and can be considered a response to A's
      question, but it's bizarre, because A would assume that if he
      had seen his dog, he would use something higher up in the
      hierarchy--like a pronoun.

      ***

      So that's basically how the thing works. What's interesting is
      that if you start looking at other languages, they express the
      various parts of this hierarchy differently. So, for example,
      while English has two separate forms for Referentials and
      Type Identifiables, Gundel et al. claim that in Spanish, you
      use "un NP" for both Referentials and Type Identifiables.

      [Note: I make no claims about the validity of their cross-linguistic
      data, since I can verify that their English data is problematic.]

      So, of immediate interest to conlangers, is that this is a way
      to think about articles, definiteness, topic, etc., that will allow
      you to break out of your native language habits, if you have
      trouble with that (e.g., like I do, with respect to this). Whether
      or not this hierarchy works, if you take it as true, it gives you
      some possibilities to play around with. For example, what if
      you had a language that treated *everything* but what was
      in focus one way--say, with null marking? Or what if you had
      a single form that could be used both for type identifiables and
      activated NP's? Presumably, the two wouldn't usually be
      confused in specific contexts, so it's certainly possible.

      Additionally, with this basic framework, you can also modify
      it. This shouldn't be taken as *the* hierarchy, in my opinion
      (especially since, of all of the languages they sampled, *only*
      English had a separate lexical entry for each of the six categories.
      Highly suspect...), but given the general format, it's easy to
      see how it can be modified to fit a particular language, or particular
      conculture. For example, what if there were a separate category
      for NP's whose identity the speaker assumes the hearer knows,
      but which, should the hearer fail to recognize the NP, should
      not be asked about. In other words, it'd be something that
      the speaker wants to talk about, and he assumes the hearer
      knows, but if they don't, he doesn't want to go back and have
      to explain the referent. Or perhaps there might be a category
      for the first thing ever mentioned in a discourse. Anything
      is possible.

      Anyway, even though we really tore this paper and theory
      apart in my pragmatics class, I really wished that I'd heard
      about it *before* I started creating languages, so that I wouldn't
      have been so lazy with definiteness/hearer knowledge, etc.

      Oh, and as you can see by the English examples, languages
      aren't designed to fill these categories: Lexical items are drawn
      from other places to fill the void. So, for me, for example, there's
      no need for me to go back create new lexical items, or delete
      old ones: I just need to have a story for how the different
      categories are expressed.

      All right, that's it. Sorry for the long, theory-laden post. I just
      thought it was helpful, from a conlanging point of view, so I
      thought I'd share.

      -David
      *******************************************************************
      "A male love inevivi i'ala'i oku i ue pokulu'ume o heki a."
      "No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

      -Jim Morrison

      http://dedalvs.free.fr/
    • Roger Mills
      ... Apparently not available to the Great Unwashed without Univ. affiliation. Drat. (snipping occasionally) ... Very interesting, particularly so for those
      Message 2 of 9 , May 1, 2005
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        David Peterson wrote:
        > To that end, we recently read a paper in my pragmatics class
        > which presented a theory about what the authors call givenness.
        > The reference is:
        >
        > Gundel, J., N. Hedberg, R. Zacharski (1993). Cognitive Status and
        > the Form of Referring Expressions in Discourse. Language,
        > Vol. 69, 2:274-307.
        >
        > (It's available from jstor.org.)
        Apparently not available to the Great Unwashed without Univ. affiliation.
        Drat.

        (snipping occasionally)
        > Okay, the givenness hierarchy. Essentially, the givenness
        > hierarchy is a hierarchy of how "in focus" a given NP is. .... This
        > hierarchy has six members, arranged
        > in a particular order. For any given member n, it is assumed
        > that a hierarchical position that is < n will be entailed by n.
        > Additionally, for any hierarchical position that is > n, it will be
        > assumed that n will conversationally implicate *not* n+1, n+2,
        > etc. >
        > The givenness hierarchy is as follows (going from least to
        > greatest):
        >
        > 1. Type Identifiable
        > 2. Referential
        > 3. Uniquely Identifiable
        > 4. Familiar
        > 5. Activated
        > 6. In Focus

        Very interesting, particularly so for those who've had experience with
        languages without real def/indef. articles (Indonesian in my case-- I wonder
        how Russian works in this respect.) I don't have time right now to go thru
        this case by case (nor are the thoughts organized after only 2 cups of
        coffee...). But it strikes me that this is tied in with presuppositions
        ~narrative structure ~discourse analysis ~pragmatics??

        Way back when, one of my profs. pointed out a 3-way distinction in English:

        Looking for your lost dog, you approach a stranger: Have you seen a dog?
        (You could describe it a little bit, but you could delay that pending an
        answer 'yes'.)

        You ask your neighbor: Have you seen my dog? (If you have more than one dog,
        you'd have to be more specific)-- One thing that has stuck in my mind from
        Indo. and relatives: a possessed form is _by its very nature_ definite; so
        are personal names.

        You ask a family member: Have you seen the dog?

        This 3-way distinction was certainly in my mind while I worked on Kash,
        along with a lot more; I suspect there's some way to indicate the proposed 6
        categories (there may be more??), but so much depends on context, doesn't
        it.

        Perhaps more later.
      • Paul Bennett
        ... There s a similar grammatical distinction in Spanish, IIRC, that can be approximated in English by comparing: I m looking for a waiter. (Neither speaker
        Message 3 of 9 , May 1, 2005
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          On Sun, 01 May 2005 13:33:00 -0400, Roger Mills <rfmilly@...> wrote:

          > Looking for your lost dog, you approach a stranger: Have you seen a dog?
          > (You could describe it a little bit, but you could delay that pending an
          > answer 'yes'.)
          >
          > You ask your neighbor: Have you seen my dog? (If you have more than one
          > dog,
          > you'd have to be more specific)-- One thing that has stuck in my mind
          > from
          > Indo. and relatives: a possessed form is _by its very nature_ definite;
          > so
          > are personal names.
          >
          > You ask a family member: Have you seen the dog?
          >
          > This 3-way distinction was certainly in my mind while I worked on Kash,

          There's a similar grammatical distinction in Spanish, IIRC, that can be
          approximated in English by comparing:

          I'm looking for a waiter.
          (Neither speaker nor hearer should know or care which)

          I'm looking for a particular waiter.
          (Speaker knows and cares which, does not expect hearer to)

          I'm looking for the waiter.
          (Speaker knows and cares which, and expects hearer to do so too)

          The distinction is marked by "un" ~ "a un" ~ "el" as I understand it.

          AFMCL, this three-way distinction is planned for inclusion in Thagojian. I
          think it will be marked with {zero} ~ "oÿnu" (ου̂s) ~ "ha" (ϩα), but I
          have yet to nail it down firmly.




          Paul
        • Paul Bennett
          On Sun, 01 May 2005 15:03:23 -0400, Paul Bennett ... WTF? I know for damn sure I spelled oÿnu correctly, since I used the Character
          Message 4 of 9 , May 1, 2005
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            On Sun, 01 May 2005 15:03:23 -0400, Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>
            wrote:

            > think it will be marked with {zero} ~ "oÿnu" (ου̂s) ~ "ha" (ϩα), but I

            WTF?

            I know for damn sure I spelled "oÿnu" correctly, since I used the
            Character Map.

            Here it is again: ου̂νs -- that's omicron, upsilon, circumflex, nu,
            "digamma-equivalent-character-that-looks-like-s", pronounced like /oy_^nu/
            ~ /oi\_^nu/ ~ /ou\_^nu/ ~ /oM_^nu/ depending on which vowel pronunciation
            scheme you happen to favor. The most canonical form is the second, but
            opinion is divided.




            Paul
          • David J. Peterson
            Roger wrote:
            Message 5 of 9 , May 1, 2005
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              Roger wrote:
              <<
              Very interesting, particularly so for those who've had experience with
              languages without real def/indef. articles (Indonesian in my case-- I
              wonder
              how Russian works in this respect.)
              >>

              Coincidentally, Russian was one of the non-English languages
              they did:

              1 through 3: ø NP
              4: eto NP, to NP
              5: eto, to (and something they call ON--any ideas what it could be?
              Emphasized "on"?)
              6: ø, on (i.e., pronoun)

              (Here the o-slashes mean "null".)

              Roger continues:
              <<
              One thing that has stuck in my mind from
              Indo. and relatives: a possessed form is _by its very nature_ definite;
              so
              are personal names.
              >>

              One interesting thing that I learned from a grad. student who
              only stayed in the department one quarter is that it seems that
              possessees do not *have* to be definite. Obviously, with something
              like "his dog", there's a definite dog in mind, but consider examples
              like the following:

              (a) John broke his finger. (Which finger?)
              (b) Someone broke John's leg. (Which leg?)

              In both (a) and (b), it would be silly to assume that John had just
              one finger and just one leg. At the same time, though, it's by
              no means ridiculous to have a conversation like the one below:

              A: Did you hear? John broke his finger.
              B: Really! Which one?
              A: I don't know; I just heard he broke one.

              Another interesting thing with possessives is the extent to
              which the hearer will accommodate a possessive, but won't
              accommodate, say, the definite article. Consider the following:

              (a) The architect had a stroke.
              (b) My uncle had a stroke.

              Under no circumstances could you start off a conversation with
              (a) when the hearer doesn't know which architect you're talking
              about. However, it's perfectly fine to start off a conversation
              with (b) even if the hearer has no idea that you even have an
              uncle.

              Anyway, one thing to note about the givenness hierarchy is
              that possessives don't appear *anywhere*. They cleverly side-stepped
              that issue completely.

              ObConlang, one of my languages, Kamakawi, does have articles, in a
              sense,
              so I wanted to figure out how they work. This is how I think
              they work:

              (1-2) ø NP
              (3-4) e NP
              (5) e NP iko, e NP ipe
              (6) amo (pronoun)

              -David
              *******************************************************************
              "A male love inevivi i'ala'i oku i ue pokulu'ume o heki a."
              "No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

              -Jim Morrison

              http://dedalvs.free.fr/
            • (no author)
              ... French only has (1)... Une pi����ce du papier isn t a good translation for a sheet paper Une pi����ce du papier would be one of the paper s pieces
              Message 6 of 9 , May 1, 2005
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                Carsten Becker wrote:

                >On Saturday 30 April 2005 20:45 CEST, Joseph Bridwell wrote:
                >
                > > > One such language is spoken on this island - it's
                > > > called Welsh :)
                > >
                > > Ah, yes - possession through nouns being juxtaposition. I
                > > believe Semitic languages do this too.
                > >
                > > And English, which uses "of" more often to mark false
                > > possessive and partitive, than to mark real possession.
                >
                >German also differs:
                >
                > 1) a. In writing:
                >
                > das Buch des Jungen
                > ART.sg.n.NOM book ART.sg.m.GEN boy
                >
                > "the book of the boy."
                >
                > b. Colloquial:
                >
                > dem Jungen sein Buch
                > ART.sg.m.DAT boy 3sg.m.GEN book
                >
                > "the boy his book"
                >
                > 2) ein Blatt Papier
                > INDEF-ART.n.NOM sheet paper
                >
                > "a sheet paper"
                >
                >French has (1) le livre du garçon and (2) une pièce du
                >papier, the same as in English actually.

                French only has (1)...

                "Une pièce du papier" isn't a good translation for "a sheet paper"

                "Une pièce du papier" would be "one of the paper's pieces"

                "A sheet paper" could be "un papier en feuille", wich is not even possession

                (I use could "could" because that's not a sentence I've ever heard (neither
                do I understand what that sentence really means), I'd have understand better
                if it'd been "A paper sheet", what would've been "Une feuille de papier" but
                that is no more of a possession than the other is)


                French doesn't seems to share what y'all now call "false possession" since a
                few days, a translation of one of your false possessive phrase is simply not
                possessive in French. French uses the preposition "de"(of) to mark
                possession but the next noun ought to have an article

                "le chien du voisin" (du = "de" + "le") = the neightbour's dog
                "la robe de ma soeur" = my sister's dress

                The only situations when the possessor can't have an article is when it is a
                proper name (so that carries its own definitness) or a pronoun (for which
                the possessive articles are there to mean that kind of meaning)

                >
                >Carsten

                - Max
              • wayne chevrier
                ... In the Salishan Languages on the Pacific Northwest of North America, there are two articles (not counting gender, number, etc.): referential and
                Message 7 of 9 , May 2, 2005
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                  "David J. Peterson" nevesht:
                  >In my languages, I've traditionally avoided things like definite
                  >and indefinite articles because: (a) I don't like them, and (b) I
                  >can't seem to avoid making them work like English (or Spanish).
                  >The result is that definiteness/indefiniteness isn't marked with
                  >articles in any of my languages. Nevertheless, something like
                  >definiteness (i.e., how salient the information presented should
                  >be to the hearer) is marked in every language, though differently
                  >for each. By trying to avoid the problem, I know doubt unwittingly
                  >reproduced English-like constructions.
                  >
                  >To that end, we recently read a paper in my pragmatics class
                  >which presented a theory about what the authors call givenness.
                  >The reference is:
                  >
                  >Gundel, J., N. Hedberg, R. Zacharski (1993). Cognitive Status and
                  > the Form of Referring Expressions in Discourse. Language,
                  > Vol. 69, 2:274-307.
                  >
                  >(It's available from jstor.org.)
                  >
                  >Anyway, I thought the *idea* presented was neat, and might be
                  >useful to conlangers, so I thought I'd give you the gist of it.
                  >
                  >[Note: I'm presenting this as an "if-this-were-true-it-might-be-
                  >cool" theory. The paper and theory have *many* problems. In
                  >fact, my pragmatics professor is writing a response to the article,
                  >since apparently no one else has critically reviewed it since it's
                  >original publication.]
                  >
                  >Okay, the givenness hierarchy. Essentially, the givenness
                  >hierarchy is a hierarchy of how "in focus" a given NP is. (How
                  >is "in focus" defined? You'd be hard-pressed to find an answer
                  >to that in the article. Think of it as "most relevant", but with a
                  >red flag attached.) This hierarchy has six members, arranged
                  >in a particular order. For any given member n, it is assumed
                  >that a hierarchical position that is < n will be entailed by n.
                  >Additionally, for any hierarchical position that is > n, it will be
                  >assumed that n will conversationally implicate *not* n+1, n+2,
                  >etc. That's a vague description, but just keep it in mind as
                  >we go along.
                  >
                  >The givenness hierarchy is as follows (going from least to
                  >greatest):
                  >
                  >1. Type Identifiable
                  >2. Referential
                  >3. Uniquely Identifiable
                  >4. Familiar
                  >5. Activated
                  >6. In Focus
                  >
                  In the Salishan Languages on the Pacific Northwest of North America, there
                  are two articles (not counting gender, number, etc.): referential and
                  nonreferential. Referential covers 2-6, nonreferential 1 (heavily used in
                  negative and hypothetical contexts).
                  In many creoles, there are three forms: definite, indefinite, and
                  indeterminate.
                  definite: uniquely identifiable to speaker and hearer
                  indefinite: uniquely identifiable to speaker
                  indeterminate: not uniquely identifiable



                  -Wayne Chevrier
                • Ray Brown
                  ... [snip] ... It does have (2) but the second should be _une pièce DE papier_ :) ... I agree - it s a very bad translation. ... Yep - it means a piece of
                  Message 8 of 9 , May 2, 2005
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                    On Sunday, May 1, 2005, at 09:55 , # 1 wrote:

                    > Carsten Becker wrote:
                    >
                    >> On Saturday 30 April 2005 20:45 CEST, Joseph Bridwell wrote:
                    [snip]
                    >> French has (1) le livre du garçon and (2) une pièce du
                    >> papier, the same as in English actually.
                    >
                    > French only has (1)...

                    It does have (2) but the second should be _une pièce DE papier_ :)

                    > "Une pièce du papier" isn't a good translation for "a sheet paper"

                    I agree - it's a very bad translation.

                    > "Une pièce du papier" would be "one of the paper's pieces"

                    Yep - it means "a piece of _the_ paper" or "the paper's piece".

                    Joseph meant, I am sure, "une pièce de papier" - 'a piece of paper' (which
                    is rather less precise than a sheet of paper"

                    > "A sheet paper" could be "un papier en feuille", wich is not even
                    > possession

                    Eh??? I was under the impression 'a sheet of paper' was _un feuillet (de
                    papier)_ - 'of paper' is often omitted in English also if the context is
                    clear. I do agree, however, it is not possession.

                    > (I use could "could" because that's not a sentence I've ever heard
                    > (neither
                    > do I understand what that sentence really means), I'd have understand
                    > better
                    > if it'd been "A paper sheet", what would've been "Une feuille de papier"
                    > but
                    > that is no more of a possession than the other is)

                    BUT "une feuille de papier" or "un feuillet (de papier) *IS* a sheet of
                    paper!!!

                    Yes, I agree it is not possession - that is precisely what I have been
                    saying in my last two (at least) emails.

                    > French doesn't seems to share what y'all now call "false possession"

                    With respect, you seem to give a different meaning to _all_ than I do.

                    I have noticed only _one_ person say that some people call this
                    construction _false possession_ (and 'false' means 'not true', 'faux',
                    that is: it ain't possession!). I am an L1 English speaker and I managed
                    to live for over 65 years without hearing the term.

                    I replied that more than 50 years I had called the construction 'partitive'
                    - and the French I am familiar with is full of partitive constructions
                    expressed with 'de', 'du', 'de la', 'des' - which is also the same
                    construction that is used to express possession!

                    > since a
                    > few days, a translation of one of your false possessive phrase is simply
                    > not
                    > possessive in French.

                    Nor is it possessive in English - that's FALSE means! It looks like
                    possessive, but it ain't.

                    > French uses the preposition "de"(of) to mark
                    > possession but the next noun ought to have an article
                    > "le chien du voisin" (du = "de" + "le") = the neightbour's dog
                    > "la robe de ma soeur" = my sister's dress
                    >
                    > The only situations when the possessor can't have an article is when it
                    > is a
                    > proper name (so that carries its own definitness) or a pronoun (for which
                    > the possessive articles are there to mean that kind of meaning)

                    All very true, and precisely the same applies to "of" when used to show
                    (real) possession in English - but _partitive_ often also has a definite
                    article:
                    j'ai mangé _du_ pain

                    I think you have perhaps been misled by the term 'false possession' -
                    which we do _not_ all use :)

                    It simply means: "a construction that use _of_ but does not show
                    possession".

                    French is full of constructions that use _de_ but do not express
                    possession, therefore French has 'false possession' Q.E.D. :)

                    But IMO the term 'false possession' is a strange (and potentially
                    misleading) way of expressing the construction:
                    une fueille _de papier_
                    a sheet _of paper_

                    Ray
                    ===============================================
                    http://home.freeuk.com/ray.brown
                    ray.brown@...
                    ===============================================
                    Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight,
                    which is not so much a twilight of the gods
                    as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]
                  • Roger Mills
                    ... Kash: 0. matikas tukrim Indo: 0 saya melihat burung (Neither S is marked for tense; that s OK in Kash, in Indo. I d feel more comfortable using a
                    Message 9 of 9 , May 2, 2005
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                      Further... How Kash and Indonesian do these:
                      > The givenness hierarchy is as follows (going from least to
                      > greatest):
                      >
                      > 1. Type Identifiable
                      > 2. Referential
                      > 3. Uniquely Identifiable
                      > 4. Familiar
                      > 5. Activated
                      > 6. In Focus
                      >
                      >
                      > 1. Type Identifiable: An NP is type identifiable if it's brand new
                      > information. Pretty much, you just have to know what it is.
                      >
                      > English: a(n) NP
                      > Example: I saw a bird.

                      Kash: 0. matikas tukrim
                      Indo: 0 saya melihat burung
                      (Neither S is marked for tense; that's OK in Kash, in Indo. I'd feel more
                      comfortable using a time-word like dulu 'earlier' or tadi 'just a while
                      ago')
                      >
                      > 2. Referential: This is a reference to indefinite NP, but the
                      > hearer is supposed to understand that it's going to be the new
                      > topic of conversation, and that for the speaker, the entity is
                      > specified.
                      >
                      > English: this NP
                      > Example: I met this great guy yesterday.

                      Kash: 0. koprat matinja kaç ('person') or kaçut ('man')-- if you used tayu
                      'this' it would suggest the man were present. It definitely calls for more
                      explanatory material.

                      Indo: not sure, but I think 0; and with _ini_ 'this', the same caveat as for
                      Kash.; there may be a colloquial way. If it were a bird, possibly: kemaren
                      saya melihat seekor burung (seekor 'one-tail' the counter for birds; it
                      specifies _one_, so would be more definite than just "..melihat burung")

                      BTW I don't agree that "I met a great guy..." is any more def/indef. than
                      "...this great guy"; to me they're equivalent.
                      >
                      > 3. Uniquely Identifiable: The hearer can identify the referent
                      > just by hearing the NP.
                      > English: the NP
                      > Example: I saw the bird.
                      >
                      Kash: matikas tukrim iyu (main S stress on tuk-; iyu 'that; the')
                      also: ...tukriñi (tukrim+ni '3poss.') if the bird is topic of the discourse.

                      Indo: ...melihat burung itu (itu 'that'; the')
                      also: ...melihat burungnya (-nya 3poss.) as in Kash.
                      (Both S's might sound better with the perfective marker, mende/sudah resp.,
                      but it's not necessary)

                      In Kash, S stress on íyu would mean '_that_ (specific) bird'
                      In Indo., for this meaning, you could either stress itu more heavily, or
                      relativize it: ...burung yang itu

                      >
                      > 4. Familiar: An NP is, to a certain extent, in the hearer's long
                      > term memory.
                      > English: that NP
                      > Example: That dog kept me awake last night.

                      Kash would probably use iyu; Indo. itu; yes, this assumes the hearer already
                      knows from prior experience what you're referring to.
                      >
                      > 5. Activated: An NP is in the hearer's short term memory.
                      >
                      > English: that, this, this NP
                      > Example: I saw that.

                      Kash: matikas (more correctly _yu matikas_ but the neut. obj.pronoun can
                      always be omitted if context is clear. An anim.pron. could too, but only in
                      casual speech I think.
                      Indo: saya (sudah or other time-word) melihat itu. You can also say: saya
                      (..) melihatnya (using the 3poss. sfx as an obj. suffix-- I'm not sure how
                      colloquial that is, however)

                      And in both cases, also a NP with deictic.

                      >
                      > 6. In Focus: This is as prominent and relevant as an NP can
                      > be--it's "on stage".
                      >
                      > English: pronouns
                      > Example: It's on the table.

                      (Obviously this presupposes the question: "Where's the/my....?"

                      Kash: 0 -- ri laca ~ri nihiñi laca (on top of...); you could start with
                      _yale_ 'it is' but it's not necessary.
                      Indo: 0 -- di atas meja (on top of...). (Similarly, you could start with
                      _ada_ 'it is; there is' but I suspect that a westernized thing).

                      Note that it's not necessary in Kash to mark 'table' as definite; likewise
                      in Indo. I think. However, if there were several tables in the place, you
                      might have to: ...laca yu, ...meja itu '_that_ table'

                      > Additionally, with this basic framework, you can also modify
                      > it. This shouldn't be taken as *the* hierarchy, in my opinion
                      > (especially since, of all of the languages they sampled, *only*
                      > English had a separate lexical entry for each of the six categories.

                      Right-- I have a sneaky feeling it's missing something (or I'm missing
                      something in Kash)...Very interesting food for thought.
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