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Re: TECH: specifity & definiteness

(This is John Cowan; snark is temporarily down.)

la .and. cusku di'e

> I quite agree: specificity is distinct from definiteness. Specific
> referents may or may not be definite.

I still don't understand this.  What is an an example of a specific
indefinite reference (in English)?

> Definiteness is non-truth-
> conditional, so appropriate for a .UI cmavo,

How's that again?  "I saw the man" entails "I saw a man", but not vice
versa, so truth conditions are definitely affected.

> whereas specificity
> affects truth conditions, so I would be inclined to treat le v.
> lo as specific v. non-specific (though I do not understand what the
> distinction between le/lo officially is).

Again, with feeling:

Remember that although we loosely refer to LE cmavo as articles, they are
really more like pronoun+relatives:  "lo kanba" is not "a goat" but
"that-which-really is-a-goat", because "kanba" is a stative verb, not a noun.
Lojban has NPs but no single-word nouns.  (I'm ignoring the issue of number.)

le/lei/le'i descriptions need not describe accurately, and are implicitly
restricted to those things the speaker has in mind.

lo/loi/lo'i descriptions must describe accurately on pain of failing to refer,
and are unrestricted.

la/lai/la'i descriptions don't describe at all, but name; they are also
implicitly restricted in the same way as the le-family.

> I don't, incidentally,
> see that bihu/bihunai corresponds to definite/indefinite - or
> rather, I do see that it doesn't.

Correct.  It is a discourse marker.

> > > Well, actually "zo'e" does well there, since "zo'e" and "le co'e" mean
> > > the same thing.  Both of them refer to something specific-but-unspecified.
> > > There is the difference that "le co'e" keeps the force of "le": one or
> > > individuals, probably not a set or mass.
> >
> > I'm not sure I believe this.  I thought that {zo'e} was totally
> > ambiguous, and could be specific or non-specific, universally
> > or existentially or exact-numerically quantified, or any other
> > (censored) thing.
> This is my understanding too.

Yes, you are both right.  Nonetheless, pragmatically "zo'e" does work
pretty well as a substitute for the non-quantificational sense of English