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"The" and possessives

From:Tom Pullman <tom@...>
Date:Tuesday, May 22, 2001, 16:53
--- Muke Tever <alrivera@...>
> wrote: >>===== 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 >to it.
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 are referring. 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". == Tom Pullman "Dochuala as borb nad légha." _____________________________________________________________ Visit to get a Web site with a personalized domain and Web-based email