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Lesson 3

Index

Lesson 5

Lesson 4: Noun specification

English likes to distinguish between definite and indefinite. Definite is when we use the article ‘the,’ and indefinite is when we use ‘a’ or ‘an.’ This can sometimes be confusing, however. Observe the following sentences:

1. I bought a shirt, the shirt is red.

2. A shirt would be useful right now.

In sentence 1, we use both ‘a’ and ‘the’ to refer to the same specific shirt. In sentence 2, we are not referring to any specific shirt. The distinction between definite and indefinite can be very subtle. Gímiv, fortunately, does NOT distinguish between definite and indefinite. However, it does distinguish between specific and non-specific. Here are the noun specifiers:

i-

specific (this, that, these, those)

a-

partitive (some)

u-

non-specific (any)

In sentence 1, we can use the specific prefix both times, since both times we are referring to a specific shirt. In sentence 2, we can use the non-specific prefix. Alternatively, we can omit the prefixes entirely because they have a strong sense of separation that we may not intend. The partitive prefix indicates a non-specific selection within a specific group. Here are some examples:

Isánad

THIS/THAT teacher

Isanaad

THESE/THOSE teachers

Asánad

SOME teacher (of a larger group of teachers)

Asanaad

SOME teachers (of a larger group of teachers)

Usánad

ANY teacher

Usanaad

ANY teachers

When a noun specifier is used with a case marking, the noun specifier comes first. For example, ‘in that school’ is ‘idasúnid,’ NOT ‘daisúnid.’ Note again that neither the noun specifier nor the case marking can be accented because they are prefixes. Only the root can be accented.

Abstract nouns (nouns in FiiM-) can NOT take noun specifiers because they refer to concepts or states. For example, ‘isiinid’ is not a possible word in Gímiv because ‘siinid’ (knowledge) refers to the concept of knowledge, and not to an actual knowledge of anything. We can say ‘isínid,’ which means ‘this knowledge, this piece of knowledge.’