Does anybody happen to know of any good and fairly readily-available surveys of the language-specific semantics of definiteness cross-linguistically? Specifically, I'm interested in all the various ways of defining definiteness in terms of which things are grammatically definite in a given language and which aren't. E.g. how English and Greek have somewhat different criteria for applying the definite and indefinite articles.

1 Answer 1


Lyons, Christopher. 1999. Definiteness. Cambridge: CUP.

Dryer, Matthew S. 2011. Definite Articles. In: Dryer, Matthew S. & Haspelmath, Martin (eds.) The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Munich: Max Planck Digital Library, chapter 37. Available online at http://wals.info/chapter/37 Accessed on 2012-03-02.

In Dryer's paper, he understands a definite article as "a morpheme which accompanies nouns and which codes definiteness or specificity."

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