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CHAT: the gay Canadian (was: "have a nice day")

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Thursday, March 2, 2000, 16:14
Matt Pearson wrote:

> Matt. > the (expatriate) gay Canadian
After picking on Dirk's "anymore", I think it's time to pick on Matt's "the" above. Just what does it mean? There doesn't seem to be any definiteness here, unlike "The Gr[ae]y Wizard", for example. "Nick the Greek" was clearly not the only Greek, nor even the only Greek in the context (professional gamblers), yet "Nick a Greek" is impossible, and even non-restrictive "Nick, a Greek" is a bit odd, sort of newspaper-style. ObConlang: the "definite article" in Lojban, _le_, marks not definiteness but specificity. It's used when the speaker's intention is the only guaranteed way of determining the referent. -- Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@...> Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau, || Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau, || Und trank die Milch vom Paradies. -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)