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Re: OT: Two language change questions

From:Elliott Lash <erelion12@...>
Date:Sunday, November 2, 2008, 16:15
Coptic has both an indefinite and definite article:

Indefinite: wa-
Indefinite plural: hen-
Definite masculine: p(e)-
Definite feminine: t(e)-
Definite plural: n(e)-


----- Original Message ----
From: David McCann <david@...>
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 1:41:54 PM
Subject: Re: Two language change questions

On Wed, 2008-10-29 at 04:11 +1100, Yahya Abdal-Aziz wrote:

> I guess I can agree that 'The indefinite article is a quantifier', > but only incidentally. The significant distinction between the > definite and indefinite articles is just that: definiteness, or > particularity. When we say "a" or "some", we're not that > particular about which particular individual(s) are taken; > however, we have still identified the kind of thing it is or > they are. > Does it follow that an indefinite article is not also a deictic? > Using an indefinite article, in whatever number, implies the > _existence_ of a particular thing or things we're talking > about - at least as a topic of discourse:
I wouldn't say that the indefinite article is *only* a quantifier: I'm always suspicious of theorists who insist there is only one true way to describe the phenomena! But *primarily* a quantifier, yes. After all, in the vast majority of languages that have it, it is either identical to or derived from the numeral "one": English, Turkish, Scandinavian, Persian, etc. And if you have a definite article, its absence is sufficient to show a noun is indefinite: Greek, Gaelic, Coptic, etc.