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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 8 , Mar 2, 2008
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      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 8 , Mar 2, 2008
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        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 8 , Mar 2, 2008
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          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 8 , Mar 2, 2008
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            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 8 , Mar 3, 2008
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              >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 8 , Mar 4, 2008
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                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
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