Help me understand the word 'familiar' in the discussion of the definite article

asked 2016-04-22 21:48:45 -0400

Sssamy gravatar image

My understanding of ‘familiarity’ according to the theories Christophersen, Karttunen, and Heim claimed is that it does not embrace those referents interpreted under ‘accomodation,’ ‘inferrability,’ or ‘bridging.’ Is my understanding correct?

I went into the class and talked to the teacher. [the teacher: its existence is accommodated]

This referent is not regarded as ‘familiar’ to the hearer at the time of utterance even though he/she can accommodate it?

I always become so confused when I hear the word 'familiar' in the discussion of the definite article. I wonder to what extent 'familiarity' embraces definite NP's? Are accommodated referents 'familiar'? Are the weak definite nouns 'familiar' (In a room with three equally salient windows. "It's hot in here. Could you open the window?") ?

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