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Re: TECH: specifity & definiteness

John Cowan answering And:

 > 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

I think there is mostly a terminological problem here.

'I saw a man' is specific, because I did see
a particular man, even though I may not in fact have enough
information ever to identify him again. But it is not
definite - I am not identifying him, or implying that
either of us knows his identity.

'I saw the man' is specific and definite, and (in English)
cannot be new information (unless there is a relative
clause added, or something).

Look at these examples:

I will buy an apple
-spec -def
I'm going to see a show tonight
is ambiguous +/-spec -def)

I will buy the apple
+spec +def

I bought an apple
+spec -def

I bought the apple
+spec +def

(I saw a show last night: +spec -def)

Compare the lojban for the above examples:

ai mi terve'u lo plise
I will buy an apple

ai mi zgana le/lo draci
I'm going to see a show tonight
+/- spec
(NB - for example only - my preferred form for
this would be
ai mi te draci)

ai mi terve'u le plise
I will buy the apple
I will buy an apple (that I have in mind)

mi pu terve'u le plise bi'u
I bought an/this apple

mi pu terve'u le plise
I bought the apple

As I mentioned in an early posting, I think

mi pu terve'u lo plise
I bought apples
is a little anomalous, and says either that I want
to emphasise that they really are apples, or that
I want to ignore their definiteness.

I conclude that specificity is truth-functional,
not independently expressed in English
(-spec -> -def, but not the converse),
and regularly expressed in Lojban by le/lo.

zu'unai definiteness is not truth-functional, is
regularly expressed in English, and is
not systematically expressed in Lojban.
Sometimes bi'u will get it across, but not