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Re: Proto-Semitic (was Re: markjjones@HOTMAIL.COM)

From:Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>
Date:Saturday, March 12, 2005, 20:28
On Mar 12, 2005, at 9:29 PM, Chris Bates wrote:
>> There is a universal phenomenon, where sometimes definite articles >> lose >> their power to definitize. Because of this there are those who claim >> that what is today an indefinite article (Arabic |tanwiin| -n, >> Akkadian >> -m) once was a definite article.
> I've never seen an example of a definite article turning into an > indefinite article (I don't speak Arabic though). It's true that > definite articles often lose their definiteness, but this isn't the > same > as turning into an indefinite article. The tendency in many languages > is > for usage to spread until the article indicates specificality rather > than definiteness and from there turn into a general NP marker. At this > point it covers both indefinite and definite meaning, but it hasn't > turned into an indefinite article.
But then what if a new definite article develops, from a deictic or a pronoun or whatever? Then the old definite article might become understood as an indefinite article. -Stephen (Steg) "quit it with the damn schwa already! i hate phonetics!" - my friend e (back when we took intro to linguistics together)


Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>