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On Mon, 9 Nov 2015 11:18:30 -0700
Logan Kearsley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Is "specific" vs. "non-specific" the same thing as "referential" vs.
> "non-referential" in this case?
> I can imagine it being something quite different, but out of context I
> am not sure which it is.

I'm using specific in its normal sense: " a woman in our street" is a
specific woman, as opposed to one picked at random. But she's not a
definite woman in the linguistic sense of definite, which is
"identified for the hearer". In other words, English (like most
languages) uses the articles according to what the hearer knows, while
the Polynesian ones use them according to what the speaker knows.

> Russian has this distinction as well:
> кто-то - someone who didn't leave her name
> koe-кто - I know who it was, and I'm just not telling you

Yes, Russian and Latin are particularly generous with indefinites: 5
distinctions each compared to a feeble 2 in Hausa. I learned all that
from the delightful book "Indefinite Pronouns" by Martin Haspelmath.

Incidentally, this shows how careless Auxlangers have been. Novial has
5, the other well-known ones 3, but none of the grammars explain how
they are used. Is "If anyone comes" ulu or urgu in Ido? Can you use
those to make the distinction between "If anyone comes" and "If
some-one comes"? For that matter, can Spanish use algien and nadie in
that way? Happy the languages (e.g. Japanese} with no overlaps here!