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What is indefiniteness?

 

Definition
 

Indefiniteness is a kind of definiteness indicating that the referent(s) of an expression are not presumed to be identifiable.

 

The referent is not identifiable because of a lack of shared knowledge or situation, including no previous mention of the referent.

Discussion
 

Certain demonstratives and pronouns often are used to indicate indefiniteness.

Examples (English)
 

Here are some examples of words that indicate indefiniteness:

 
  • a
  • some
  • somebody
Generic
  Indefinite is a kind of
 
Sources
 

Pei and Gaynor 1954 98

 

Crystal 1980 263

 

Lyons 1968 276

 

Mish 1991 612

 

Hawkins, J. 1978 202


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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

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