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CONLANG  September 2002, Week 1

CONLANG September 2002, Week 1

Subject:

Re: Definite/Indefinite Article Distinction

From:

Pablo David Flores <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 6 Sep 2002 20:54:30 -0300

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (61 lines)

Karapcik, Mike <[log in to unmask]> writes:

>         Japanese doesn't have articles. The dactyls kore/sore/are and
> kono/sono/ano are sometimes used like a definite article, though they both
> basically mean this/that/that over yonder. (If I remember correctly, "kore"
> is a non-possessed thing, and "kono" is a possessed thing.

Actually, "kore" functions like a noun, and "kono"
as an adjective. It's the difference between "this"
in "this tree" and in "this is a tree".

Also, aren't those called "deictics"?

Japanese has three levels of deixis (this/that/yonder)
as you said, same as Spanish (este/ese/aquel), where
English has two. A more complicated system, anybody? :)

Senu Yivokuchi has a three-level system, too, though
I'm working on the semantics. Since there are no third
person pronouns, it makes do with |mech| and |sach|,
"that one" and "*that* one over there".

SYV doesn't have articles, but marks definiteness on nouns
and adjectives using suffixes. The noun goes first and then
all its adjectives or subordinate nouns (in compound noun
phrases), and only the last one gets marked. If certain
words (like "this" or "my" or "one") follow, there's also
no need to mark definiteness, since it's implied.

Noun phrases are thus segregated by taking into account
that they always start with a noun and end with a marked
noun/adjective or a demonstrative, possessive, or numeral.
This is especially useful when arguments pile up before or
after the verb, since subject and object are not marked
for a particular case, and the oblique cases are multi-
functional (genitive doubles as ablative and allative
doubles as dative) so sometimes case-marked phrases
modify a noun phrase, and sometimes the verb...

    Ekeki yighauch su. 'The women came from the forest.'
    Akak yighauch su.  'The women of the forest came.'

(In this example, word order would help -- in the first
sentence, |yighauch| 'from the forest' would go after the
verb. But that's not always helpful with more arguments.)

The definite mark is |-i| for roots ending in a consonant
(and it umlauts any /a/'s on the root), |-ch| /C/ (c-cedilla)
for vowel-ending roots. The indefinite mark is |-a| for
consonant-ending roots, |-ya| or |-wa| after /i/ and /u/
respectively, or zero after other vowels.


--Pablo Flores
  http://www.angelfire.com/scifi2/nyh/index.html
  "The future is all around us, waiting, in moments
   of transition, to be born in moments of revelation.
   No one knows the shape of that future or where it
   will take us. We know only that it is always born
   in pain."  -- G'Kar quoting G'Quon, in "Babylon 5"

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