"The" and possessives
|From:||Tom Pullman <tom@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, May 22, 2001, 16:53|
--- Muke Tever <alrivera@...>
>>===== Original Message From Constructed Languages List
>If I wanted to say the 'the' version without the definite article, I'd use a
>pronoun: "the year minus its nineteen". I think that one isn't ambiguous
>because 1977 as a value isn't likely to have that kind of possession ascribed
Indeed - but you haven't made "nineteen" indefinite by using "its". A
possessive makes a word definite just as the word "the" does. After all, if you
say "her car" you are still implying that there is just one car to which you
Celtic languages have an interesting feature related to this: I'll demonstrate
with Irish because that's the only one I have much knowledge of.
an cat [@n cAt_d] - the cat.
an fear [@n f'&r] - the man.
an fhir [@n ir'] - of the man.
Now "The cat of the man" is not "An cat an fhir" but simply "Cat an fhir". Why
is this? Because "of the man" makes "cat" definite just as well as "an" does,
and therefore removes the need for it.
This struck me as odd for a little while - then I realised that there's
precisely the same thing in English. We, after all, don't say "The man's the
cat" -we leave the definite article off "cat" as well. What had stopped me
seeing this was the fact that in English we often have words (i.e. adjectives)
between the definite article and its noun, so "the" in "The man's cat" could
"feel" as if it were governing "cat" rather than "man".
"Dochuala as borb nad légha."
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