tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Sep 25 22:18:45 2009

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Re: Articles

MorphemeAddict (MorphemeAddict@wmconnect.com) [KLI Member] [Hol taghwI']



In a message dated 9/26/2009 00:06:39 Eastern Daylight Time, 
doq@embarqmail.com writes:

> English has definite (the) and indefinite (a, an) articles. Many  
> languages don't. Of the polyglots out there that speak other languages  
> that lack articles, is there any common way to differentiate between  
> "I see an enemy," and "I see the enemy" besides the ubiquitous  
> linguistic band-aid of "context"?
> 

What we make explicit in English and other articled languages is what 
speakers of languages without articles also know.  If something has been recently 
referred to, it's definite; no article required.  Otherwise it's not 
definite; no article required.  
So I suppose it is up to context. Some languages, such as Finnish in 
particular, use cases in ways that sometimes, but by no means always, matches the 
use of articles.

In general, I suspect there is a whole web or net of indefinite vs. 
definite (vs. generic?) usage and choice of words and structures that helps 
determine whether a definite or indefinite sense is meant.

An interesting exercise would be to invent a logical language without 
articles. Or has that been done?  ceqli comes to mind. 

Seqram, nuq DaQub?

lay'tel SIvten






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