Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Wiley-Blackwell Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule

New from Cambridge University Press!


Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.

New from Brill!


Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin

Query Details

Query Subject:   Search for Article on Adjectives that Disambiguate Indefiniteness in English
Author:   John Winward
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Language Acquisition
Subject Language(s):  English

Query:   I'm working on L2 acquisition of English articles by Thai L1 learners.
In particular, I'm interested in the (possible) confusion between
determiners and adjectives.

Background: in a range of 'opaque' contexts - for example the
scope of intensional verbs - English indefinites allow both a specific
and non-specific reading: (1a) +Specific, (1b) -Specific.

1a. Mary wants to marry a millionaire; his name is John.
1b. Mary wants to marry a millionaire, but doesn't know any.

English has a couple of adjectives that can force a specific reading.
'A certain X' is the most widely quoted example in the literature.

Thai has no article system, but there is an adjective(?) that seems
to play the opposite role - forcing an indefinite reading, even in
environments that would normally be specific.

I remember reading a journal article a few years back in which the
author claims - in passing - that English has an adjective of this
sort. I can't for the life of me remember the article, the author or -
most importantly - the adjective in question. I can think of a few
candidates - 'An unspecified X', for example, but none of them
sound natural, and none of them clearly disambiguate the specificity
/ non-specificity across a wide range of tokens. I've tried using a
thesaurus, but to no avail.

Can anyone suggest a likely candidate, or remember the article I'm
thinking of?

LL Issue: 24.2382
Date posted: 11-Jun-2013


Sums main page