Verdurian article syntax

Posted by Panu Petteri Höglund on 6:18 8/27/01

In reply to: (none)

As I am fluent in Irish, a language with an article usage strikingly different from English, as we see in the following examples:

Bhí na mílte daoiní ann = There were thousands of people (in Irish, NA mílte = THE thousands)


Is í Josephine de Geer príomhinnealtóir an ghléasra = Josephine de Geer is the First Engineer of the industrial plant (in Irish, "First Engineer of the plant" - one definite article makes the whole noun-phrase definite)

Labhair mé le fear an phoist = I spoke with the postman (in Irish, man of the post - one definite article makes the whole noun-phrase definite)

- as my Irish has made me very sharp-eyed for differences in article syntax, I have been wondering about article usage in Verdurian as opposed to English. "So Sanno Lebe" seems to correspond closely to "The Lord of News" - which, incidentally, would be Tiarna an Nuaíochta in Irish ("Lord of the News") - or, more idiomatically, Rogha an Nuaíochta or Scoth an Nuaíochta . (And yes, I know that nuaíocht is dialect and nuacht " is standard!) Sure Verdurian could not coincide with English article usage throughout, could it?

Mark responds:

When to use articles can be quite difficult, and I'm not sure I know how to describe it well. The basic reference for Verdurian is the discussion in the Reference Grammar, which does mention differences from English and French usage.

From your examples, it looks like Irish likes to make the last NP in a complex NP definite-- "man of THE post" instead of "THE man of post". Verdurian prefers the opposite approach, making only the head noun definite (so uestu nazhdenëi).

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