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Re: Definiteness

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  • Eric Christopherson
    ... I was just about to bring up the same distinction. How is it done in Spanish? ... In my Dhaqran, at least as I envision it right now, the distinction is
    Message 1 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
      On Mar 2, 2008, at 1:49 PM, Paul Bennett wrote:

      > On Sun, 02 Mar 2008 05:51:05 -0500, Mr Veoler <veoler@...>
      > wrote:
      >
      >> One thing I have had in mind to ask: What about definiteness?
      >>
      >> The definite article, and a generic demonstrative - what's the
      >> difference?
      >
      > Semantically, very little, if any.
      >
      > I suspect you could replace every demonstrative "that" and every
      > "the" in English both with "bleen" and be just as expressive and
      > concise (once the listener knew what "bleen" meant).
      >
      >> Generally, my conlang have the unmarked noun to be "indefinite" in
      >> the broader
      >> sense, and might be used for what in English is definite, if the
      >> context is
      >> enough. And then I have two marked articles: one for definiteness,
      >> used when
      >> you want to make it explicitly definite, as a generic
      >> demonstrative, and the
      >> second article for genericness (as in Latejami).
      >
      > In Terzemian, as IIRC in Spanish, I distinguish three articles:
      >
      > Type 0: Not definite to the speaker
      > Type 1: Definite to the speaker, but the speaker does not know (or
      > care?) whether it's definite to the listener
      > Type 2: Definite to the speaker, and the speaker expects / wants it
      > to be definite to the listener

      I was just about to bring up the same distinction. How is it done in
      Spanish?

      >
      > English can express these, but not with absolute concision:
      >
      > Type 0: I'm looking for a house
      > Type 1: I'm looking for a specific house
      > Type 2: I'm looking for the house

      In my Dhaqran, at least as I envision it right now, the distinction
      is marked by the mood of the word "house" -- it doesn't distinguish
      verbs, nouns, and adjectives, and most words that would
      conventionally be put into those classes show typically verbal
      distinctions such as aspect, mood, and voice.

      Type 0 would use the irrealis mood: "there could/would/might/may be a
      house; I'm looking for it".
      Type 1 would use the realis mood: "there is a house; I'm looking for
      it".
      Type 3 would use the realis mood and probably some sort of
      demonstrative or article "there is a house; it is that one; I'm
      looking for it". (The word for "house" might also have a definite
      subject instead of being impersonal, in which case it would gloss as
      something like "it is a house; [it is that one (optional);] I'm
      looking for it" (depending on the preceding context).)
    • MorphemeAddict@WMCONNECT.COM
      In a message dated 3/2/2008 14:00:08 PM Central Standard Time, ... I worked for a short time with some patent lawyers, and every time they meant the , they
      Message 2 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
        In a message dated 3/2/2008 14:00:08 PM Central Standard Time,
        paul.w.bennett@... writes:


        > > The definite article, and a generic demonstrative - what's the
        > > difference?
        >
        > Semantically, very little, if any.
        >
        > I suspect you could replace every demonstrative "that" and every "the" in
        > English both with "bleen" and be just as expressive and concise (once the
        > listener knew what "bleen" meant).
        >

        I worked for a short time with some patent lawyers, and every time they meant
        "the", they substituted "such". It was really bizarre.

        stevo </HTML>
      • Eugene Oh
        On 03/03/2008, MorphemeAddict@wmconnect.com ... The French do that with ce , of course. (: Eugene
        Message 3 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
          On 03/03/2008, MorphemeAddict@...
          <MorphemeAddict@...> wrote:
          > In a message dated 3/2/2008 14:00:08 PM Central Standard Time,
          >
          > paul.w.bennett@... writes:
          >
          >
          > > > The definite article, and a generic demonstrative - what's the
          > > > difference?
          > >
          > > Semantically, very little, if any.
          > >
          > > I suspect you could replace every demonstrative "that" and every "the" in
          > > English both with "bleen" and be just as expressive and concise (once the
          > > listener knew what "bleen" meant).
          > >
          >
          >
          > I worked for a short time with some patent lawyers, and every time they meant
          > "the", they substituted "such". It was really bizarre.
          >
          > stevo </HTML>
          >

          The French do that with "ce", of course. (:

          Eugene
        • Philip Newton
          ... And it works for millions of native speakers of German, where the demonstrative adjectives(?) and the articles are the same: Ich suche das Haus = I m
          Message 4 of 26 , Mar 2, 2008
            On Sun, Mar 2, 2008 at 8:49 PM, Paul Bennett <paul.w.bennett@...> wrote:
            > On Sun, 02 Mar 2008 05:51:05 -0500, Mr Veoler <veoler@...> wrote:
            >
            > > One thing I have had in mind to ask: What about definiteness?
            > >
            > > The definite article, and a generic demonstrative - what's the
            > > difference?
            >
            > Semantically, very little, if any.
            >
            > I suspect you could replace every demonstrative "that" and every "the" in
            > English both with "bleen" and be just as expressive and concise (once the
            > listener knew what "bleen" meant).

            And it works for millions of native speakers of German, where the
            demonstrative adjectives(?) and the articles are the same: "Ich suche
            das Haus" = I'm looking for the house, while "Ich suche *das* Haus" =
            I'm looking for that house.

            And the relative pronouns are the same, too: "Ich suche das Haus, das
            gelb ist" = I'm looking for the house which is yellow.

            Or for a trifecta, consider "Ich suche das Haus, das so groß ist wie
            *das* Haus" = I'm looking for bleen house, bleen is as big as *bleen*
            house.

            (Though now that I think about it, demonstrative uses typically add
            another particle such as _hier_ "here" or _da_/_dort_ "there": "das
            Haus hier, das Haus da" for "this house, that house". And there's also
            "dieses Haus (hier), jenes Haus (da/dort)" for "this house, that
            house".)

            Cheers,
            --
            Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
          • John Vertical
            ... And to make this fully orthogonal, one could add: not definit to the speaker but definit to the lis ner. Might be usable this way: So then the2 staircase
            Message 5 of 26 , Mar 3, 2008
              >In Terzemian, as IIRC in Spanish, I distinguish three articles:
              >
              >Type 0: Not definite to the speaker
              >Type 1: Definite to the speaker, but the speaker does not know (or care?)
              >whether it's definite to the listener
              >Type 2: Definite to the speaker, and the speaker expects / wants it to be
              >definite to the listener

              And to make this fully orthogonal, one could add: not definit to the speaker
              but definit to the lis'ner. Might be usable this way:
              "So then the2 staircase was jammed..."
              "Sorry, the3 what staircase?"


              >English can express these, but not with absolute concision:
              >
              >Type 0: I'm looking for a house
              >Type 1: I'm looking for a specific house

              Or "this one house".

              >Type 2: I'm looking for the house
              >
              >
              >
              >Paul

              ---

              Entirely distinct idea: I've been pondering if evidentials and articles
              could be joined in a single part-of-speech. Sorry, don't have any results at
              hand.

              John Vertical
            • Jim Henry
              ... In gzb there are no articles as such, and marking definiteness is optional, but there are demonstratives and similar modifier particles that serve much the
              Message 6 of 26 , Mar 4, 2008
                On 3/2/08, Paul Bennett <paul.w.bennett@...> wrote:

                > In Terzemian, as IIRC in Spanish, I distinguish three articles:
                >
                > Type 0: Not definite to the speaker
                > Type 1: Definite to the speaker, but the speaker does not know (or care?)
                > whether it's definite to the listener
                > Type 2: Definite to the speaker, and the speaker expects / wants it to be
                > definite to the listener

                In gzb there are no articles as such, and marking definiteness
                is optional, but there are demonstratives and similar modifier
                particles that serve much the same function as articles:

                rî'mâ rjâ-i.
                house quest-at
                I'm looking for a/some/the house. [ambiguous, context may clarify]

                rî'mâ kwǒ rjâ-i.
                house some quest-at
                I'm looking for a house.

                rî'mâ sǒ rjâ-i.
                house certain quest-at
                I'm looking for a certain house.

                rî'mâ pǒ rjâ-i.
                house that.3 quest-at
                I'm looking for the/that house.

                rî'mâ ʝel mĭ-i zym-zô.
                house in.general TOP-at think-V.ACT
                I'm thinking about houses in general. [about the category of houses]

                The last instance corresponds to another use of "the"
                in English, to refer to a category as a whole. With some
                nouns the bare singular noun with no article serves that purpose;
                with most others the bare plural noun:

                The lion is the king of beasts.

                or:

                Lions are mammals.

                but:

                Man is a political animal.

                --
                Jim Henry
                http://www.pobox.com/~jimhenry/gzb/gzb.htm
              • Gage Amonette
                What are some ways that your languages mark for definiteness?
                Message 7 of 26 , Mar 10
                  What are some ways that your languages mark for definiteness?
                • The Scribbler
                  My current conlang-in-progress generally adds -s. In practice, this is somewhat more complicated as it will usually elide any word-final alveolars, and use -os
                  Message 8 of 26 , Mar 10
                    My current conlang-in-progress generally adds -s. In practice, this is somewhat more complicated as it will usually elide any word-final alveolars, and use -os or -us for other word-final consonants or may otherwise morph the last vowel or two of the word before adding the -s. And apparently, the definite used to actually involved eliding word-final vowels and adding glottalic reinforcement, but that mostly merged with the imprecative register, and now, usually the other method for marking definiteness is used.


                    From: Gage Amonette <gamonette36@...>
                    To: CONLANG@...
                    Sent: Friday, March 10, 2017 1:07 PM
                    Subject: Definiteness

                    What are some ways that your languages mark for definiteness?
                  • Dirk Elzinga
                    In Miapimoquitch, definiteness is the default reading of predicates referring to entities. Indefiniteness is marked by a prosodic template consisting of a
                    Message 9 of 26 , Mar 10
                      In Miapimoquitch, definiteness is the default reading of predicates
                      referring to entities. Indefiniteness is marked by a prosodic template
                      consisting of a heavy syllable followed by two light syllables. The initial
                      syllable is made heavy by geminating a medial stop or nasal or by
                      lengthening the vowel if the medial consonant is a fricative or glide
                      (there's lenition as well, so an underlying voiceless stop is realized as a
                      voiced fricative intervocalically). If the stem doesn't contain enough
                      material to fill out two light syllables, the suffix -ɣa is added. When the
                      final vowel of the root is a, the ɣ is deleted and the suffix is realized
                      as long a:.

                      tšíɣusu 'the piñon jay' (definite); tšík:usu 'a piñon jay' (indefinite)
                      lúvi 'the muskrat' (definite); lúp:iɣa 'a muskrat' (indefinite)
                      tšíwi 'the bird' (definite); tší:wiɣa 'a bird' (indefinite)
                      nɨ́ma 'the man' (definite); nɨ́m:a: 'a man' (indefinite)
                      pɨ́ya 'the coyote' (definite); pɨ́:ya: 'a coyote' (indefinite)

                      The same prosody also marks imperfective aspect for predicates referring to
                      activities or events.

                      wínɨðɨ 'twirled' (perfective); wín:ɨðɨ 'is/was twirling' (imperfective)
                      tɨ́vu 'marked' (perfective); tɨ́p:uɣa 'is/was marking' (imperfective)
                      páši 'tore' (perfective); pá:šiɣa 'is/was tearing' (imperfective)


                      On Fri, Mar 10, 2017 at 1:07 PM, Gage Amonette <gamonette36@...>
                      wrote:

                      > What are some ways that your languages mark for definiteness?
                      >
                    • Logan Kearsley
                      ... Well, several of my conlangs just do boring normal things, so I ll just tell you about the fun ones. WSL lacks articles or inflections for definiteness,
                      Message 10 of 26 , Mar 10
                        On 10 March 2017 at 13:07, Gage Amonette <gamonette36@...> wrote:
                        > What are some ways that your languages mark for definiteness?

                        Well, several of my conlangs just do boring normal things, so I'll
                        just tell you about the fun ones.

                        WSL lacks articles or inflections for definiteness, and instead
                        conveys definiteness optionally with definite or indefinite
                        nouns/adjectives (the categories are not formally distinct in WSL- any
                        noun can equally well be interpreted as an adjective, and vice-versa).
                        I.e., it's lexically specified, rather than grammaticalized. This
                        allows for the construction of lots of fine degrees of definiteness in
                        principle, although in practice you mostly see "ajn" used for "the one
                        I already mentioned" / "the one I expect you to know about" and "ajs"
                        used for "this one", with everything else being implicitly indefinite,
                        or definite-by-pragmatic-context. The use of the existential
                        quantifier "jest" (roughly equivalent to English "some") generally
                        indicates indefiniteness, but you can still use the nouns "ajn" or
                        "ajs" with it, producing a meaning something like "some that I've
                        mentioned"

                        Valaklwuuxa uses articles, and every nominal phrase is required to
                        carry a determiner of some sort, of which the articles are the most
                        common, but their meanings do not map nicely onto English articles.
                        Their semantics are kind of a blend of Salish definite articles and
                        Russian indefinite pronouns. They are as follows:

                        txe "I know which one" (but you may or may not)
                        ta "I don't know/care which one"
                        kwe "the one who/which..." (i.e., you may not be able to identify it
                        ahead of time, but I'm going to tell you how to)

                        Valaklwuuxa actually has quite a lot of determiners, but these are the
                        basic ones. There is also an explicit deictic determiner, which can
                        only be used when the speaker is actually pointing at something.

                        -l.
                      • Logan Kearsley
                        Here s another idea that I have not used myself, but which seems like it would be fun: There are natlangs which require syntactic subjects to be definite,
                        Message 11 of 26 , Mar 10
                          Here's another idea that I have not used myself, but which seems like
                          it would be fun:

                          There are natlangs which require syntactic subjects to be definite,
                          and/or in which marking something as the subject is the only
                          grammaticalized method of marking definiteness (I think Bulgarian
                          falls into this category, but don't quote me on that...).

                          As a slight tweak on that, one could imagine an ergative / split-S
                          language in which definiteness marking is tied up with case marking-
                          ergative being definite, and absolutive being indefinite / unmarked.
                          The case marking for subjects of intransitive verbs would then be
                          decided by definiteness, while voice transformations would be required
                          to arrange for the (or a) definite argument to show up as an ergative
                          subject for any transitive verb.

                          If no definite argument is available to promote to subject status,
                          then you'd just have to amend your discourse to include an extra
                          intransitive equivalent of the phrase "so there's this..." in order to
                          *make* one of your referent's definite first.

                          On 10 March 2017 at 13:43, Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...> wrote:
                          > On 10 March 2017 at 13:07, Gage Amonette <gamonette36@...> wrote:
                          >> What are some ways that your languages mark for definiteness?
                          >
                          > Well, several of my conlangs just do boring normal things, so I'll
                          > just tell you about the fun ones.
                          >
                          > WSL lacks articles or inflections for definiteness, and instead
                          > conveys definiteness optionally with definite or indefinite
                          > nouns/adjectives (the categories are not formally distinct in WSL- any
                          > noun can equally well be interpreted as an adjective, and vice-versa).
                          > I.e., it's lexically specified, rather than grammaticalized. This
                          > allows for the construction of lots of fine degrees of definiteness in
                          > principle, although in practice you mostly see "ajn" used for "the one
                          > I already mentioned" / "the one I expect you to know about" and "ajs"
                          > used for "this one", with everything else being implicitly indefinite,
                          > or definite-by-pragmatic-context. The use of the existential
                          > quantifier "jest" (roughly equivalent to English "some") generally
                          > indicates indefiniteness, but you can still use the nouns "ajn" or
                          > "ajs" with it, producing a meaning something like "some that I've
                          > mentioned"
                          >
                          > Valaklwuuxa uses articles, and every nominal phrase is required to
                          > carry a determiner of some sort, of which the articles are the most
                          > common, but their meanings do not map nicely onto English articles.
                          > Their semantics are kind of a blend of Salish definite articles and
                          > Russian indefinite pronouns. They are as follows:
                          >
                          > txe "I know which one" (but you may or may not)
                          > ta "I don't know/care which one"
                          > kwe "the one who/which..." (i.e., you may not be able to identify it
                          > ahead of time, but I'm going to tell you how to)
                          >
                          > Valaklwuuxa actually has quite a lot of determiners, but these are the
                          > basic ones. There is also an explicit deictic determiner, which can
                          > only be used when the speaker is actually pointing at something.
                          >
                          > -l.
                        • Gage Amonette
                          All of these are rather brilliant; most of my conlangs don t even mark for definiteness. One of them, Onnasurin, does, however, mark for definiteness by
                          Message 12 of 26 , Mar 10
                            All of these are rather brilliant; most of my conlangs don't even mark for
                            definiteness. One of them, Onnasurin, does, however, mark for definiteness
                            by placing a suffix on the noun.

                            path: book (nominative non-definite)
                            pathya: the book (nominative definite)
                            acha: many

                            On Fri, Mar 10, 2017 at 12:57 PM, Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...>
                            wrote:

                            > Here's another idea that I have not used myself, but which seems like
                            > it would be fun:
                            >
                            > There are natlangs which require syntactic subjects to be definite,
                            > and/or in which marking something as the subject is the only
                            > grammaticalized method of marking definiteness (I think Bulgarian
                            > falls into this category, but don't quote me on that...).
                            >
                            > As a slight tweak on that, one could imagine an ergative / split-S
                            > language in which definiteness marking is tied up with case marking-
                            > ergative being definite, and absolutive being indefinite / unmarked.
                            > The case marking for subjects of intransitive verbs would then be
                            > decided by definiteness, while voice transformations would be required
                            > to arrange for the (or a) definite argument to show up as an ergative
                            > subject for any transitive verb.
                            >
                            > If no definite argument is available to promote to subject status,
                            > then you'd just have to amend your discourse to include an extra
                            > intransitive equivalent of the phrase "so there's this..." in order to
                            > *make* one of your referent's definite first.
                            >
                            > On 10 March 2017 at 13:43, Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...> wrote:
                            > > On 10 March 2017 at 13:07, Gage Amonette <gamonette36@...> wrote:
                            > >> What are some ways that your languages mark for definiteness?
                            > >
                            > > Well, several of my conlangs just do boring normal things, so I'll
                            > > just tell you about the fun ones.
                            > >
                            > > WSL lacks articles or inflections for definiteness, and instead
                            > > conveys definiteness optionally with definite or indefinite
                            > > nouns/adjectives (the categories are not formally distinct in WSL- any
                            > > noun can equally well be interpreted as an adjective, and vice-versa).
                            > > I.e., it's lexically specified, rather than grammaticalized. This
                            > > allows for the construction of lots of fine degrees of definiteness in
                            > > principle, although in practice you mostly see "ajn" used for "the one
                            > > I already mentioned" / "the one I expect you to know about" and "ajs"
                            > > used for "this one", with everything else being implicitly indefinite,
                            > > or definite-by-pragmatic-context. The use of the existential
                            > > quantifier "jest" (roughly equivalent to English "some") generally
                            > > indicates indefiniteness, but you can still use the nouns "ajn" or
                            > > "ajs" with it, producing a meaning something like "some that I've
                            > > mentioned"
                            > >
                            > > Valaklwuuxa uses articles, and every nominal phrase is required to
                            > > carry a determiner of some sort, of which the articles are the most
                            > > common, but their meanings do not map nicely onto English articles.
                            > > Their semantics are kind of a blend of Salish definite articles and
                            > > Russian indefinite pronouns. They are as follows:
                            > >
                            > > txe "I know which one" (but you may or may not)
                            > > ta "I don't know/care which one"
                            > > kwe "the one who/which..." (i.e., you may not be able to identify it
                            > > ahead of time, but I'm going to tell you how to)
                            > >
                            > > Valaklwuuxa actually has quite a lot of determiners, but these are the
                            > > basic ones. There is also an explicit deictic determiner, which can
                            > > only be used when the speaker is actually pointing at something.
                            > >
                            > > -l.
                            >
                          • Juliano Cruz Gusmão
                            I am making defined 2 or 4 articles: one singular and other plural defined or one singular def., one plural def., and one singula indef., and one plural indef.
                            Message 13 of 26 , Mar 10
                              I am making defined 2 or 4 articles: one singular and other plural defined
                              or one singular def., one plural def., and one singula indef., and one
                              plural indef.
                              it goes like:

                              na kuro= the frog
                              ne kuro= the frogs
                              ku kuro= a frog
                              ko kuro= some frogs

                              in informal (brazilian "non educated or scholarized") portuguese, this
                              happens a lot.

                              formal portuguese

                              o sapo= the frog
                              os sapos= the frogs
                              um sapo= a frog
                              uns sapos= some frogs

                              informal portuguese

                              o sapo= the frog
                              os sapo= the frogs
                              um sapo= a frog
                              uns sapo= some frogs.

                              i think it is a good way, plus you can add case endings to the root (kuro
                              in my example.)


                              Juliano Cruz Gusmão.

                              E-mail: julianocg@...
                              Facebook: Juliano Cruz Gusmão


                              "O pássaro de Minerva só alça seu vôo ao cair da noite."
                              "La birdo de Minerva nur ekflugas cxe la nokta ekapero."
                              Hegel

                              "Sem um desvio do normal, o progresso é impossível."
                              "Sen devio de la normaleco, la progresso neeblas."
                              Frank Zappa

                              "Os cegos fazem de tudo para ver a luz, os tolos, para não vê-la"
                              "La blinduloj faros cxion por vidi la lumon, la stultoj, por ne gxin vidi."
                              A. H. fuerstenthal

                              2017-03-10 17:07 GMT-03:00 Gage Amonette <gamonette36@...>:

                              > What are some ways that your languages mark for definiteness?
                              >
                            • Logan Kearsley
                              ... Prosodic templates are cool! I have tried to do grammatical things with them from time to time, but I never find myself satisfied with the results. I would
                              Message 14 of 26 , Mar 10
                                On 10 March 2017 at 13:36, Dirk Elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...> wrote:
                                > In Miapimoquitch, definiteness is the default reading of predicates
                                > referring to entities. Indefiniteness is marked by a prosodic template
                                > consisting of a heavy syllable followed by two light syllables. The initial
                                > syllable is made heavy by geminating a medial stop or nasal or by
                                > lengthening the vowel if the medial consonant is a fricative or glide
                                > (there's lenition as well, so an underlying voiceless stop is realized as a
                                > voiced fricative intervocalically). If the stem doesn't contain enough
                                > material to fill out two light syllables, the suffix -ɣa is added. When the
                                > final vowel of the root is a, the ɣ is deleted and the suffix is realized
                                > as long a:.
                                >
                                > tšíɣusu 'the piñon jay' (definite); tšík:usu 'a piñon jay' (indefinite)
                                > lúvi 'the muskrat' (definite); lúp:iɣa 'a muskrat' (indefinite)
                                > tšíwi 'the bird' (definite); tší:wiɣa 'a bird' (indefinite)
                                > nɨ́ma 'the man' (definite); nɨ́m:a: 'a man' (indefinite)
                                > pɨ́ya 'the coyote' (definite); pɨ́:ya: 'a coyote' (indefinite)
                                >
                                > The same prosody also marks imperfective aspect for predicates referring to
                                > activities or events.
                                >
                                > wínɨðɨ 'twirled' (perfective); wín:ɨðɨ 'is/was twirling' (imperfective)
                                > tɨ́vu 'marked' (perfective); tɨ́p:uɣa 'is/was marking' (imperfective)
                                > páši 'tore' (perfective); pá:šiɣa 'is/was tearing' (imperfective)

                                Prosodic templates are cool!

                                I have tried to do grammatical things with them from time to time, but
                                I never find myself satisfied with the results. I would like to see
                                more of this kind of thing in other conlangs, if only to help improve
                                my own grasp on the subject.

                                I may be able to correctly answer exam questions about them, meter and
                                prosody are a couple areas of linguistics that have just never quite
                                clicked well enough for me to *make* them.

                                -l.
                              • Jyri Lehtinen
                                ... The Salish definite articles are pretty fun and they were my first inspiration for creating the article system of Nooníí kiskn. The language has three
                                Message 15 of 26 , Mar 10
                                  2017-03-10 21:43 GMT+01:00 Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...>:

                                  > Valaklwuuxa uses articles, and every nominal phrase is required to
                                  > carry a determiner of some sort, of which the articles are the most
                                  > common, but their meanings do not map nicely onto English articles.
                                  > Their semantics are kind of a blend of Salish definite articles and
                                  > Russian indefinite pronouns. They are as follows:
                                  >
                                  > txe "I know which one" (but you may or may not)
                                  > ta "I don't know/care which one"
                                  > kwe "the one who/which..." (i.e., you may not be able to identify it
                                  > ahead of time, but I'm going to tell you how to)
                                  >


                                  The Salish definite articles are pretty fun and they were my first
                                  inspiration for creating the article system of Nooníí kiskn. The language
                                  has three articles, a proclitic referential article n(a)- and two proper
                                  definite articles ta and ski with secondary deictic reference.

                                  With a few exceptions, the definite articles ta and ski can only be used
                                  with referents that have already been introduced into the discourse and
                                  established as definite. In all other cases where the speaker has a
                                  specific referent in mind, the referential article n(a)- has to be used
                                  whether the speaker expects the listener to know the referent or not. If
                                  even the speaker doesn't have any specific referent in mind, the article is
                                  dropped.

                                  taká – "boat" (just some unspecified boat)
                                  ntaká – "a certain boat, the boat" (known to me)
                                  ta taká – "the/this boat" (that we have been talking about)
                                  ski taká – "the/that boat" (that we have been talking about)

                                  All my other conlanging projects lack a central or dedicated way for
                                  marking definiteness, but it still pops up as a secondary factor in other
                                  grammatical processes. The grammat of Kišta pays a lot of attention to the
                                  information structure of a sentence so that core arguments in the topic and
                                  focus positions trigger different case marking and verb morphology. Since a
                                  topical NP has to be definite, this gives implicitly information about
                                  definiteness as well,

                                  Eeppi süni-n talla.
                                  dog fish-FOC eat
                                  "The dog ate a fish."

                                  Süni-š eevi-n talla-to.
                                  fish-ACC dog-FOC eat-OBJECT.TOP
                                  "A dog ate the fish." / "The fish was eaten by a dog."

                                  In Janti there's a minor use for differential object marking on definite
                                  objects. In general the language keeps track of the arguments of its verbs
                                  through polypersonal agreement and the use of verbal classifiers that refer
                                  to the S/O argument. However, for most nouns both the subject and object
                                  SG3 agreement is zero marked. If both the subject and object nouns would
                                  also get the same classifier on the verb, you can end up with ambiguous
                                  sentences,

                                  Tara nokse we-s-nin.
                                  dog moose see-PROG-CL:LARGE.ANIMAL
                                  "The dog sees a moose." / "The moose sees a dog."

                                  Often animacy hierarchy and context help a lot to sort out such sentences
                                  but definiteness also plays an important role. If the object is definite,
                                  it can be explicitly marked by the oblique case ending -t,

                                  Tara-t nokse we-s-nin.
                                  dog-OBL moose see-PROG-CL:LARGE.ANIMAL
                                  "The moose sees the dog."

                                  If only one of the arguments is definite and there's no oblique case
                                  marking on the object, the definite argument is the first candidate to be
                                  the subject. There's no marking for its definiteness, though, so you need
                                  to infer it from the wider discourse context.

                                  -Jyri
                                • Herman Miller
                                  ... Jarda has definite articles ja, ka, and ķa (according to the declension class of the noun). Tirëlat can use demonstrative this and that (nja, jaa),
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Mar 10
                                    Gage Amonette wrote:
                                    > What are some ways that your languages mark for definiteness?

                                    Jarda has definite articles ja, ka, and ķa (according to the declension
                                    class of the noun). Tirëlat can use demonstrative "this" and "that"
                                    (nja, jaa), but there isn't a way to simply mark nouns as definite.
                                    Lindiga uses VSO word order when the subject is definite and the object
                                    is indefinite; otherwise the word order is VOS.
                                  • Melroch
                                    Classical Sohlob marks both definiteness and plural only on determiners, not on nouns or adjectives (which are actually a single category, nominals, in Sohlob:
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Mar 11
                                      Classical Sohlob marks both definiteness and plural only on determiners,
                                      not on nouns or adjectives (which are actually a single category, nominals,
                                      in Sohlob: 'big' and 'bigness' are one word.) Thus _zoǧd an_ means 'that
                                      elephant' or 'the elephant' depending on context while _zoǧd and_ means
                                      'those elephants' or 'the elephants', _an/and_ being the singular and
                                      plural of the mesial animate determiner. The proximal _ïn/ïnd_ 'this/these'
                                      and distal _on/ond_ 'yon(der)' can be used the same way as can their
                                      inanimate counterparts _ïr/ïzur_ (prox.), _or/ozur_ (mes.) and _ur/uzur_
                                      (dist.). Indefinite singulars are marked with _-(h)Ah_ which actually is
                                      the cliticized numeral 'one': _zoǧtah_ [ˈzɒχtʰɑ(h)]. Thus the unmarked
                                      base form _zoǧd_ defaults to indefinite plural meaning '(some) elephants'.

                                      For those who wonder/don't remember the protoforms of the determiners were
                                      something like

                                      PROX MES DIST
                                      ANIM *ina/*inana *ana/*anana *una/*unana
                                      INAN *iru/*iruru *aru/*aruru *uru/*ururu

                                      In Kijïb, the oldest attested Sohlob language, the proximal plurals had
                                      become _inda_ and _idru/idur_. Apply some umlaut, apocope, lenition and
                                      assibilation to that and you arrive at the classical forms.

                                      (The table messes up in the proportional font in the Gmail app. I hope it
                                      is intelligible anyway!)

                                      /bpj

                                      Den 10 mar 2017 21:17 skrev "Gage Amonette" <gamonette36@...>:

                                      What are some ways that your languages mark for definiteness?
                                    • Charles Brickner
                                      Senjecas has neither a definite nor an indefinite article. Definiteness is indicated with the three deictic proclitics: i- , this; a- , that, and o- yon.
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Mar 11
                                        Senjecas has neither a definite nor an indefinite article. Definiteness is indicated with the three deictic proclitics: "i-", this; "a-", that, and "o-" yon. Further definiteness is indicated with the postclitic "-ṡe".
                                        "i-lűvo", this book; "i-űvo-ṡe", this book right here.

                                        Charlie
                                      • Logan Kearsley
                                        ... Interesting! Amalishke (the language I m developing for one of my wife s books) as a somewhat similar interplay of definiteness and referentiality. In that
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Mar 11
                                          On 10 March 2017 at 18:32, Jyri Lehtinen <lehtinen.jyri@...> wrote:
                                          > 2017-03-10 21:43 GMT+01:00 Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...>:
                                          >
                                          >> Valaklwuuxa uses articles, and every nominal phrase is required to
                                          >> carry a determiner of some sort, of which the articles are the most
                                          >> common, but their meanings do not map nicely onto English articles.
                                          >> Their semantics are kind of a blend of Salish definite articles and
                                          >> Russian indefinite pronouns. They are as follows:
                                          >>
                                          >> txe "I know which one" (but you may or may not)
                                          >> ta "I don't know/care which one"
                                          >> kwe "the one who/which..." (i.e., you may not be able to identify it
                                          >> ahead of time, but I'm going to tell you how to)
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > The Salish definite articles are pretty fun and they were my first
                                          > inspiration for creating the article system of Nooníí kiskn. The language
                                          > has three articles, a proclitic referential article n(a)- and two proper
                                          > definite articles ta and ski with secondary deictic reference.
                                          >
                                          > With a few exceptions, the definite articles ta and ski can only be used
                                          > with referents that have already been introduced into the discourse and
                                          > established as definite. In all other cases where the speaker has a
                                          > specific referent in mind, the referential article n(a)- has to be used
                                          > whether the speaker expects the listener to know the referent or not. If
                                          > even the speaker doesn't have any specific referent in mind, the article is
                                          > dropped.
                                          >
                                          > taká – "boat" (just some unspecified boat)
                                          > ntaká – "a certain boat, the boat" (known to me)
                                          > ta taká – "the/this boat" (that we have been talking about)
                                          > ski taká – "the/that boat" (that we have been talking about)

                                          Interesting! Amalishke (the language I'm developing for one of my
                                          wife's books) as a somewhat similar interplay of definiteness and
                                          referentiality. In that language, the default reading of an unmarked
                                          noun phrase is definite & referential, but there are indefinite and
                                          non-referential articles, which can be stacked, so you get all all
                                          four of the following combinations:

                                          Definite & Referential: "the specific one I expect you to recognize
                                          from context"
                                          Indefinite & Referential: "some which I know to exist, but I may not
                                          be able to identify or care about identifying"; e.g., the snake in
                                          "There's a snake in my boot!"- it's indefinite, but it's definitely a
                                          specific one.
                                          Definite & Non-Referential: for non-referential concepts that have
                                          been previously introduced in the discourse. It's kinda difficult to
                                          give concise English examples for this.
                                          Indefinite & Non-Referential: for general statements about classes of
                                          things; e.g., the dog in "a dog will bark at you if you threaten it's
                                          owner".

                                          > All my other conlanging projects lack a central or dedicated way for
                                          > marking definiteness, but it still pops up as a secondary factor in other
                                          > grammatical processes. The grammat of Kišta pays a lot of attention to the
                                          > information structure of a sentence so that core arguments in the topic and
                                          > focus positions trigger different case marking and verb morphology. Since a
                                          > topical NP has to be definite, this gives implicitly information about
                                          > definiteness as well,
                                          >
                                          > Eeppi süni-n talla.
                                          > dog fish-FOC eat
                                          > "The dog ate a fish."
                                          >
                                          > Süni-š eevi-n talla-to.
                                          > fish-ACC dog-FOC eat-OBJECT.TOP
                                          > "A dog ate the fish." / "The fish was eaten by a dog."

                                          Aha! So much like the idea I had about conflating definiteness with
                                          ergativity, except Worse. :)
                                          (Which is, of course, better!) I like seeing conlangs that
                                          specifically address information structure in their grammar.

                                          > In Janti there's a minor use for differential object marking on definite
                                          > objects. In general the language keeps track of the arguments of its verbs
                                          > through polypersonal agreement and the use of verbal classifiers that refer
                                          > to the S/O argument. However, for most nouns both the subject and object
                                          > SG3 agreement is zero marked. If both the subject and object nouns would
                                          > also get the same classifier on the verb, you can end up with ambiguous
                                          > sentences,
                                          >
                                          > Tara nokse we-s-nin.
                                          > dog moose see-PROG-CL:LARGE.ANIMAL
                                          > "The dog sees a moose." / "The moose sees a dog."
                                          >
                                          > Often animacy hierarchy and context help a lot to sort out such sentences
                                          > but definiteness also plays an important role. If the object is definite,
                                          > it can be explicitly marked by the oblique case ending -t,
                                          >
                                          > Tara-t nokse we-s-nin.
                                          > dog-OBL moose see-PROG-CL:LARGE.ANIMAL
                                          > "The moose sees the dog."
                                          >
                                          > If only one of the arguments is definite and there's no oblique case
                                          > marking on the object, the definite argument is the first candidate to be
                                          > the subject. There's no marking for its definiteness, though, so you need
                                          > to infer it from the wider discourse context.

                                          Also very nice. Paying attention to discourse-level pragmatics like
                                          that is another thing I enjoy seeing in conlang descriptions.

                                          -l.
                                        • Jyri Lehtinen
                                          ... I bet. I m still unsure what would it take to keep something unreferential after being established as definite. Maybe a longer discourse example or setting
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Mar 11
                                            2017-03-11 22:41 GMT+01:00 Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...>:

                                            > Definite & Non-Referential: for non-referential concepts that have
                                            > been previously introduced in the discourse. It's kinda difficult to
                                            > give concise English examples for this.
                                            >

                                            I bet. I'm still unsure what would it take to keep something unreferential
                                            after being established as definite. Maybe a longer discourse example or
                                            setting could help.

                                            > All my other conlanging projects lack a central or dedicated way for
                                            > > marking definiteness, but it still pops up as a secondary factor in other
                                            > > grammatical processes. The grammat of Kišta pays a lot of attention to
                                            > the
                                            > > information structure of a sentence so that core arguments in the topic
                                            > and
                                            > > focus positions trigger different case marking and verb morphology.
                                            > Since a
                                            > > topical NP has to be definite, this gives implicitly information about
                                            > > definiteness as well,
                                            > >
                                            > > Eeppi süni-n talla.
                                            > > dog fish-FOC eat
                                            > > "The dog ate a fish."
                                            > >
                                            > > Süni-š eevi-n talla-to.
                                            > > fish-ACC dog-FOC eat-OBJECT.TOP
                                            > > "A dog ate the fish." / "The fish was eaten by a dog."
                                            >
                                            > Aha! So much like the idea I had about conflating definiteness with
                                            > ergativity, except Worse. :)
                                            > (Which is, of course, better!) I like seeing conlangs that
                                            > specifically address information structure in their grammar.
                                            >

                                            Yeah, it's kind of messy when you try to make sense of it in terms of
                                            definiteness. When you understand it as information structure marking that
                                            only correlates somewhat with definiteness, it's not as bad, but it still
                                            forces you to think about things that you normally leave to intuition. But
                                            that's exactly why I made it so, to challenge myself. There are still some
                                            important parts of the system that I haven't quite nailed down yet, such as
                                            how narrow does the information focus have to be in order to trigger the
                                            use of the focus case.

                                            -Jyri
                                          • Aidan Aannestad
                                            Kišta s argument marking system here looks a lot like the so-called Austronesian alignment voicing-focus system. Was that the intent/inspiration? It looks a
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Mar 11
                                              Kišta's argument marking system here looks a lot like the so-called 'Austronesian alignment' voicing-focus system. Was that the intent/inspiration? It looks a bit different from what I've seen of Tagalog, and I'd be super curious how you've done it.
                                              On 2017/03/11 20:35:03, Jyri Lehtinen <lehtinen.jyri@...> wrote:
                                              2017-03-11 22:41 GMT+01:00 Logan Kearsley :

                                              > Definite & Non-Referential: for non-referential concepts that have
                                              > been previously introduced in the discourse. It's kinda difficult to
                                              > give concise English examples for this.
                                              >

                                              I bet. I'm still unsure what would it take to keep something unreferential
                                              after being established as definite. Maybe a longer discourse example or
                                              setting could help.

                                              > All my other conlanging projects lack a central or dedicated way for
                                              > > marking definiteness, but it still pops up as a secondary factor in other
                                              > > grammatical processes. The grammat of Kišta pays a lot of attention to
                                              > the
                                              > > information structure of a sentence so that core arguments in the topic
                                              > and
                                              > > focus positions trigger different case marking and verb morphology.
                                              > Since a
                                              > > topical NP has to be definite, this gives implicitly information about
                                              > > definiteness as well,
                                              > >
                                              > > Eeppi süni-n talla.
                                              > > dog fish-FOC eat
                                              > > "The dog ate a fish."
                                              > >
                                              > > Süni-š eevi-n talla-to.
                                              > > fish-ACC dog-FOC eat-OBJECT.TOP
                                              > > "A dog ate the fish." / "The fish was eaten by a dog."
                                              >
                                              > Aha! So much like the idea I had about conflating definiteness with
                                              > ergativity, except Worse. :)
                                              > (Which is, of course, better!) I like seeing conlangs that
                                              > specifically address information structure in their grammar.
                                              >

                                              Yeah, it's kind of messy when you try to make sense of it in terms of
                                              definiteness. When you understand it as information structure marking that
                                              only correlates somewhat with definiteness, it's not as bad, but it still
                                              forces you to think about things that you normally leave to intuition. But
                                              that's exactly why I made it so, to challenge myself. There are still some
                                              important parts of the system that I haven't quite nailed down yet, such as
                                              how narrow does the information focus have to be in order to trigger the
                                              use of the focus case.

                                              -Jyri
                                            • Seth KAZAN
                                              I use a special mark for all deixis ( inclused definiteness) on the concerned semantic prime... ... -- odd-language.tumblr.com
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Mar 12
                                                I use a special mark for all deixis ( inclused definiteness) on the
                                                concerned semantic prime...

                                                2017-03-12 4:35 GMT+01:00 Aidan Aannestad <a.aannestad@...>:

                                                > Kišta's argument marking system here looks a lot like the so-called
                                                > 'Austronesian alignment' voicing-focus system. Was that the
                                                > intent/inspiration? It looks a bit different from what I've seen of
                                                > Tagalog, and I'd be super curious how you've done it.
                                                > On 2017/03/11 20:35:03, Jyri Lehtinen <lehtinen.jyri@...> wrote:
                                                > 2017-03-11 22:41 GMT+01:00 Logan Kearsley :
                                                >
                                                > > Definite & Non-Referential: for non-referential concepts that have
                                                > > been previously introduced in the discourse. It's kinda difficult to
                                                > > give concise English examples for this.
                                                > >
                                                >
                                                > I bet. I'm still unsure what would it take to keep something unreferential
                                                > after being established as definite. Maybe a longer discourse example or
                                                > setting could help.
                                                >
                                                > > All my other conlanging projects lack a central or dedicated way for
                                                > > > marking definiteness, but it still pops up as a secondary factor in
                                                > other
                                                > > > grammatical processes. The grammat of Kišta pays a lot of attention to
                                                > > the
                                                > > > information structure of a sentence so that core arguments in the topic
                                                > > and
                                                > > > focus positions trigger different case marking and verb morphology.
                                                > > Since a
                                                > > > topical NP has to be definite, this gives implicitly information about
                                                > > > definiteness as well,
                                                > > >
                                                > > > Eeppi süni-n talla.
                                                > > > dog fish-FOC eat
                                                > > > "The dog ate a fish."
                                                > > >
                                                > > > Süni-š eevi-n talla-to.
                                                > > > fish-ACC dog-FOC eat-OBJECT.TOP
                                                > > > "A dog ate the fish." / "The fish was eaten by a dog."
                                                > >
                                                > > Aha! So much like the idea I had about conflating definiteness with
                                                > > ergativity, except Worse. :)
                                                > > (Which is, of course, better!) I like seeing conlangs that
                                                > > specifically address information structure in their grammar.
                                                > >
                                                >
                                                > Yeah, it's kind of messy when you try to make sense of it in terms of
                                                > definiteness. When you understand it as information structure marking that
                                                > only correlates somewhat with definiteness, it's not as bad, but it still
                                                > forces you to think about things that you normally leave to intuition. But
                                                > that's exactly why I made it so, to challenge myself. There are still some
                                                > important parts of the system that I haven't quite nailed down yet, such as
                                                > how narrow does the information focus have to be in order to trigger the
                                                > use of the focus case.
                                                >
                                                > -Jyri
                                                >



                                                --
                                                odd-language.tumblr.com
                                              • Granny Grammar
                                                I can t see much use for any notion of definitiveness this loose. Laughably, I m asking for more definitiveness in my definitude. By using the noun book
                                                Message 23 of 26 , Mar 13
                                                  I can't see much use for any notion of "definitiveness" this loose.
                                                  Laughably, I'm asking for more definitiveness in my definitude.

                                                  By using the noun "book" you've made it pretty definite that it's not a cat
                                                  or a doctrine you have in mind. Charles Bricker's postclitic "-se" seems
                                                  to be a specifier of location. There might be a million books in his, or
                                                  at any rate Mr. Blackwell's, "right here," so it's hardly about any
                                                  specific book.

                                                  I'm grateful to Robert, btw, for sending me to Wordnik.com, and to the
                                                  several Wikipedia entries on these topics. Great fun! Thank you.



                                                  On Sat, Mar 11, 2017 at 3:32 PM, Charles Brickner <
                                                  tepeyachill@...> wrote:

                                                  > Senjecas has neither a definite nor an indefinite article. Definiteness is
                                                  > indicated with the three deictic proclitics: "i-", this; "a-", that, and
                                                  > "o-" yon. Further definiteness is indicated with the postclitic "-ṡe".
                                                  > "i-lűvo", this book; "i-űvo-ṡe", this book right here.
                                                  >
                                                  > Charlie
                                                  >
                                                • stewart fraser
                                                  This is a test. Sorry for the disruption.
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , Mar 15
                                                    This is a test.

                                                    Sorry for the disruption.

                                                    > On Mar 14, 2017, at 3:13 AM, Granny Grammar <prunefaced.grammarian@...> wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    > I can't see much use for any notion of "definitiveness" this loose.
                                                    > Laughably, I'm asking for more definitiveness in my definitude.
                                                    >
                                                    > By using the noun "book" you've made it pretty definite that it's not a cat
                                                    > or a doctrine you have in mind. Charles Bricker's postclitic "-se" seems
                                                    > to be a specifier of location. There might be a million books in his, or
                                                    > at any rate Mr. Blackwell's, "right here," so it's hardly about any
                                                    > specific book.
                                                    >
                                                    > I'm grateful to Robert, btw, for sending me to Wordnik.com, and to the
                                                    > several Wikipedia entries on these topics. Great fun! Thank you.
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    > On Sat, Mar 11, 2017 at 3:32 PM, Charles Brickner <
                                                    > tepeyachill@...> wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    >> Senjecas has neither a definite nor an indefinite article. Definiteness is
                                                    >> indicated with the three deictic proclitics: "i-", this; "a-", that, and
                                                    >> "o-" yon. Further definiteness is indicated with the postclitic "-ṡe".
                                                    >> "i-lűvo", this book; "i-űvo-ṡe", this book right here.
                                                    >>
                                                    >> Charlie
                                                    >>
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