Re: 2 Questions about glosses
|From:||Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, October 17, 2004, 6:36|
From: scott <sjcaldwell@...>
> My language has 3 genders, which is basically indicated
> by 3 articles: asem, ipen, ümen. These articles are the definite
> article. The indefinite article is created by adding the suffix -a.
> ümen-a hafal
> a-INDF horse
> 'a horse'
> Is the gloss for 'the horse' (ümen hafal)
> the horse
> or the-DEF horse
> or something else ?
I would not analyze your basic uninflected articles as definite
articles, but rather referential articles: they point to a NP in
the discourse that actually exists, whether previously referred
to or not. This would be the distinction between:
Is there a unicorn in the garden?
(=> no assertion that unicorns exist)
There is a unicorn in the garden.
(=> assertion that unicorns exist.)
English has no way to distinguish these morphologically; only the
context distinguishes them. (In Georgian, which generally lacks articles,
the number _erti_ "one" is used as a referential indefinite article
sometimes, though not obligatorily.) But getting back to your example,
since all definites are also referential, perhaps your -a suffix is a
genuine indefinitivizer, and your language lacks a definite article
altogether. The definite reading could be drawn from the pragmatic
inference that one did not use the indefinitivizer, splitting up the
articles in a way opposite to English.
Just an idea, though.
> Also, when writing the gloss do you indicate gender (which in
> my case is a mix of formal vs. informal, and sentient vs.
> non-sentient)? Or would this only be the case if you were
> using an affix to indicate gender instead of a wholly different
> and separate word?
I would not indicate gender in the morphemic breakdown unless
it's actually needed in the morphosyntax. Thus, English has no
gender in the sense of German, where gender is a formal rather
than fuzzy feature of nouns, and so gender should not be marked
in the breakdown, with the possible pragmatic exception of pronouns.
Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637