Re: Qualitative and Indefinite

From: Rolf Furuli (
Date: Thu Sep 04 1997 - 10:08:15 EDT

Paul F. Evans wrote:

<<<<<For those of us who are getting swamped by the back and forth in this
thread, could someone more precisely define the terms
"qualitative/indefinite" and "qualitative/definite" (and how the difference
could be recognised im a given context). How can one determine if a given
context intends "definiteness" or "indefiniteness"?

> It seems fair to suggest that Polycarp's reply reveals not only the group to
> which he belongs (indefinite),

How is this indefinite?

Pardon me for asking such elementary questions in a technical debate!>>>>>>

Dear Paul,

Your questions are surely appropriate, because these terms are often used
differently. I used "indefinite" "definite" in my first post in the John
1:1 tread without defining them, but in the same sense as Greg did above. I
suggest the following definitions:

(1) Based on grammar: "indefinite" or "anarthrous" (= noun without
article), "definite" or "arthrous" or "articular" (= noun with article).
(2) Based on semantics: "generic" (member of a class or of a kind),
"specific" (= the only exemplar of its kind), "qualitative" (= the
qualities or characteristics of something or someone are stressed).
These suggested definitions would imply that Greg`s use above ( and my
earlier use) of "indefinite" should have been "generic" and the use of
"definite" should have been "specific".


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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