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Re: definite/indefinite articles

From:Paul Burgess <paul@...>
Date:Monday, March 31, 2003, 13:35
3/30/03 9:10:53 PM, Michael David Martin
<mdmartin@...> wrote:

>Hello, > I've got a basic question regarding the definite
and indefinite articles
>('the' 'a') - are they really necessary? Is there any
reason to have them?
>How about having the definite article but not the
indefinite article? I was
>just wondering if there was a reason that a language
should have them.
> >Hope this question isn't too simple, but I am a novice
to conlanging. Thanks
>for your answers.
Michael, greetings! I'm a 33-year veteran of conlanging, but a novice to this group. In my conlang, Hermetic, the article "mna" is neither definite nor indefinite, it precedes proper nouns exactly the same as it does common nouns, and its use depends on which of the ten noun cases you're talking about. "Mna" always precedes a noun in the nominative case, unless its place is taken by a number or a demonstrative adjective. It always precedes the accusative, except for a few words which are considered in some sense "unique" ("avnoth," "everything"; "chaloth", "nothing"), or when the accusative is the object of a preposition or of a comparative adjective or adverb. It never precedes the equative case, except for a few words which are considered "unique"-- even shorter list of these than with the accusative. It precedes the genitive, dative, and instrumental only with an emphatic or reflexive meaning. It also precedes the illative with an emphatic or reflexive meaning, though more reluctantly, as this renders the illative identical to the nominative-- in such a situation, often a postposition is used to underscore the case distinction. It precedes the locative in a construction I call (for no good reason) the "locative absolute": "mna lnitho," "the woodlawn" (nominative); "slnitho," "on the woodlawn" (locative); "mna slnitho," "the place where the woodlawn is" (locative absolute). It never precedes the vocative or the instrumental. It also occasionally precedes personal pronouns, under case-driven conditions similar to the above, although it is *much* more reluctant to appear before a pronoun than before a noun-- hence primarily in instances of emphasis or reflexivity, and in that capacity sometimes even before a nominative or accusative pronoun. And in Hermetic the article "mna" also sometimes precedes the verb, under a complicated idiomatic tangle of conditions. It also appears free-floating preceding a postposition in certain jury-rigged, informal subordinate-clause constructions. So you can be just as creative and complicated as you wish, in the use of an article in your conlang! --------------------------------------------- E-mail Website ---------------------------------------------


Paul Burgess <paul@...>
H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>