Don Blaheta wrote:
> In some way or another (if only by context), a language has
> to distinguish between the following meanings of a noun
> ("tiger", fi):
> 1 tigers        tigers in general: "Tigers have stripes"
> 2 the tiger     the specific tiger previously referred to
> 3 the tigers    the specific tigers previously referred to
> 4 the tiger     archetypal tiger: "The tiger is not a
>                 gregarious mammal"

How are (1) and (4) different in meaning?

> Now.  1 and 4 are sufficiently
> uncommon that they should probably use some adjectival
> construction.  The unmarked form should represent 2/3
> (which can be conflated because context would distinguish
> them), since that is by far the most common, _imho_*.

This is all starting to look a bit like an isolating version of
Classical Yiklamu. Nouns are definite (i.e. they name a  previously
identified or deictically identifiable referent) and of unstated number
when unmarked. They can be marked for indefiniteness or for
1st-proximal, 2nd-proximal or 1st&2nd-distal, and for singular or

kikfa   'cat'             "the cat"
kikfazi 'cat-INDEF'       "a/some cat/s"
kikfami 'cat-PROX1'       "this/these cat/s"
kikfasi 'cat-PROX2'       "that/those cat/s (by you)"
kikfadi 'cat-PROX3'       "that/those cat/s (distant)"

kikfaku 'cat-SING'        "the one cat"
kikfazu 'cat-INDEF-SING'  "one cat"
kikfamu 'cat-PROX1-SING'  "this one cat"
kikfasu 'cat-PROX2-SING'  "that one cat (by you)"
kikfadu 'cat-PROX3-SING'  "that one cat (distant)"

kikfaka 'cat-PLUR'        "the cats"
kikfaza 'cat-INDEF-PLUR'  "some cats"
kikfama 'cat-PROX1-PLUR'  "these cats"
kikfasa 'cat-PROX2-PLUR'  "those cats (by you)"
kikfada 'cat-PROX3-PLUR'  "those cats (distant)"

Theoretically, there is also one more form, 'kikfaki', which emphasizes
the meanings of both unmarked number and unmarked
indefiniteness/proximity: we're definitely talking about some cat or
cats previously mentioned, and we're definitely not divulging whether
it's one cat or more than one cat.

-- Mark

(Mark P. Line  --  Bellevue, Washington  --  <[log in to unmask]>)