May I have an example of a language which separately marks definiteness and specificity (or indefiniteness and non-specificity), and also a principled way for deciding which of the two sets of terms is appropriate in description?
I wrote a paper about these topics, among others, many years ago, which was translated into French before being published (in Langages 48, 1976).
The OP has added this material summarized from the cited paper:
NP's in English which are marked as indefinite can be ambiguous for specificity. The example given in the paper is that the phrase "I'm looking for a policeman" is ambiguous between two readings:
- I'm looking for a policeman, but I can't find him. (specific)
- I'm looking for a policeman, but I can't find one. (non-specific)
Specific indefinites are associated with specific instantiations of a referring phrase (in addition to lexical and definitional information), while non-specific indefinites are only associated with lexical or definitional information associated with referring phrase.