Questions tagged [articles]

Indicates definiteness or indefiniteness of a noun, member of a small class of determiners.

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30
votes
11answers
4k views

Articles before the name of a person

In the question “La” or “le” before a person's name? on the French SE site, the asker refers to the phenomenon that in some rural/dialect settings the first name of a person is preceded by the ...
27
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10answers
2k views

Do some languages have articles besides the definite and indefinite articles?

Most languages have either no articles, or one or both of the definite (akin to English "the") and indefinite (akin to English "a" / "an"). But are there other kinds of articles, and which languages ...
17
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8answers
7k views

How is definiteness expressed in languages with no definite article, clitic or affix?

According to WALS Feature 37A: Definite Articles, 198 languages have no definite or indefinite article, and 45 have no definite article but have indefinite articles. These number excludes languages ...
17
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3answers
3k views

Origin of articles in European languages

I read that PIE, Latin, old English, and even old German did not use articles, yet current English, German and Romance languages all use articles. Is it true that articles developed in all these ...
14
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2answers
285 views

How do linguists determine whether a language has an indefinite article?

Given: For those languages which have it, the indefinite article mostly if not always is derived from the numeral for "one". Most languages have numbers but many lack articles. How do linguists ...
13
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5answers
1k views

Are there natural languages with the following properties (seen in Esperanto)?

Are there natural languages that have the following set of properties: The language possesses nouns, adjectives, and definite articles Nouns and adjective are both inflected for number and case (or ...
11
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2answers
982 views

What is an "adjectival article"? Apparently Albanian "të" is one

Being in Albania I decided to sit down with a word frequency list of the language and look each up so I would know some of the common words I see around me. The second most common word in Albanian is ...
9
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4answers
552 views

Borrowing words along with the articles or other grammatical parts (like Spanish from Arabic)

Disclaimer: I do not know Arabic. Here is an example of Spanish words of Arabic origin: alacrán, albañil, alquimia... I wonder why Spanish language borrowed so many Arabic words along with the ...
8
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6answers
2k views

Why is the definite article in Balkan languages always called a suffix when it really seems to be part of the inflection?

The Scandinavian languages have a suffix definite article which is pretty straightforwardly tacked on to to the ends of nouns: -en, -et. But in languages of the Balkan Sprachbund, Romanian, Bulgarian,...
8
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5answers
1k views

Languages where articles occur to the right of nouns

Are there languages where articles appear—as independent words—on the right-hand side of the noun phrases they occur in - in other words after the head noun in the noun phrase?
8
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3answers
643 views

Usage of definite articles in Germanic and Romance languages

In the Germanic languages, a generic construction using the definite article with mass nouns is unacceptable. In contrast, Romance languages require the definite article to make the generic ...
7
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7answers
1k views

Are there other languages, besides English, where the indefinite (or definite) article varies based on sound?

I was talking today with an English co-worker about whether he says "an H-1B visa" or "a H-1B visa", which hinges on whether one says "aitch" or "haitch" for the letter H. And I noticed that unlike ...
7
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2answers
460 views

What does Eastern Aramaic have to say about "(definite) articles are acquired, not lost"?

The current answers on Definite/indefinite articles vs. inflections agree that (definite) articles are acquired by languages, not lost. I'm wondering what Eastern Aramaic has to say about this. ...
7
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1answer
616 views

What diagnostics distinguish demonstratives from definite articles?

Historically, definite articles are often related to demonstratives. How might one characterize whether a word in a language is a definite article or a demonstrative?
6
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1answer
344 views

Understanding the purpose of determiners/articles/demonstratives in language

This was an interesting read: Articles have developed independently in many different language families across the globe. Generally, articles develop over time usually by specialization of certain ...
6
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1answer
3k views

Why does Italian use definite articles before possessive adjectives, except when these are followed by a singular family noun?

In Italian possessive adjectives are preceded by a definite article: “il mio amico” (the my friend), “la nostra casa”, “i tuoi libri”. The article however is always dropped with singular nouns ...
5
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2answers
3k views

Evolution of Definite Articles in Indo-European Languages [duplicate]

I am a complete layman in linguistics, so the question I have probably has no scholarly merit whatsoever. My question concerns the definite articles in Indo-European languages. Almost all Indo-...
5
votes
1answer
285 views

On the etymology of Balearic Catalan personal articles "en/na"

Catalan (like certain regional dialects of Spanish and Italian) uses definite articles before proper names: El Pere ha arribat tard aquest matí. La Maria ha arribat tard també. In eastern (Balearic) ...
4
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3answers
1k views

"Den" or "det" in Swedish

I am native Swedish speaker and I have a problem that the language seems to have no grammar in some cases. For instance there is both "en lag" and "ett lag" meaning completely different things but the ...
4
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1answer
150 views

Are null and zero articles present in every language, conceptually, or only in English?

I have been studying Peter Master's 2003 paper regarding null and zero articles and I am still not clear if he is saying that this is a peculiarity of English or if he is saying that this is a ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Are Articles('a','an','the') bound morphemes?

"bound morpheme is a morpheme that appears only as part of a larger word; a free morpheme or unbound morpheme is one that can stand alone or can appear with other lexemes" given that the articles ...
4
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2answers
212 views

On an apparent " masstermization" phenomenon in contemporary informal French: " il y a de la jolie nana par ici"

I have noticed a tendency to " masstermize" nouns in contemporary informal French, I mean to use nouns as mass terms ( uncountable), though they cannot be strictly used in this way. What I call " ...
3
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2answers
158 views

Use of the definite article in European vs. Brazilian Portuguese

When I started learning Portuguese years ago, all the books I used at the time told me that when using possessive adjectives you also have to put the corresponding definite article in front of the ...
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0answers
89 views

Resources/papers on Portuguese nominal syntax and determiners?

I'm vaguely aware that the (definite) determiner has a much freer distribution in Portuguese than in other languages, e.g. it can come before personal names: A Maria lê um livro. The Maria reads a ...
2
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2answers
125 views

Should common short words be left out of a concordance?

I'm writing a program which will be designed to take a text file, and parse all the words into a Concordance, e.g., a sort of dictionary list of all the words sorted in order, with a total count of ...
2
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1answer
285 views

Nouns without an article as in e.g. "Empire is not always a good thing"

Consider the highlighted nouns below. Empire is not always a good thing. (The burden of empire, like its benefit, was not equitably shared.) Some great apes have theory of mind. (Theory may tell us ...
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0answers
81 views

"an" -> "a" When Describing a Noun With Adjectives

Observed in fluent speech: a unrounded vowel To a native English speaker, the following would be expected instead: an unrounded vowel What's happening here? It looks like the speaker is ...
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1answer
125 views

Why is it thought that definite articles develop from deictic markers, and not the other way around?

I read here that "it is cross-linguistically common for definite articles to develop from deictic markers"; "deictic" referring to words such as "I" or "here" whose meaning is dependent on context. ...
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2answers
118 views

Is wrong article use a matter of pronunciation or grammar?

I was in a discussion with someone, where they described my wrong use of an article as a "mispronunciation". I argued it was rather a matter of grammar, as I did pronounce the article correctly, but ...
1
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1answer
170 views

The word 'all' as an article, rather than an adjective?

The grammar descriptions of some languages seem to treat words like all and no, as in 'all giraffes are yellow' and 'no pigs have wings' simply as adjectives, because the words they determine are the ...
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3answers
329 views

Definite/indefinite articles vs. inflections

While some languages have definite/indefinite articles (a/an/the in English, le/la/les and un/une/des in French), others don't (Russian, Latin). In this connection I have a few questions: Chicken or ...
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2answers
218 views

Why does Laam sometimes get pronounced as the next letter in Arabic words? [duplicate]

I'm trying to learn how to read Arabic and I noticed that sometimes the letter Laam (ل) is either silent or takes the pronunciation of the following letter, as in this text from Wikipedia: As-...
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2answers
220 views

Can an indefinite article trigger a presupposition?

One presupposition trigger is the definite article. Can an indefinite article trigger a presupposition?
1
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1answer
312 views

Articles in Indo-European Languages

I study Turkic languages. Does anybody know a comparative study of Indo-European languages and Altaic languages or a study which proves that Altaic languages have articles? I compared some suffixes ...
1
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1answer
140 views

Attached articles, are they clitics or endings?

If we take a clitic as a part of word that is attached after the ending and attached to the word depending on the word order (examples include -'s in English and -que in Latin), what would be definite ...
1
vote
1answer
640 views

Why is the definite, indefinite, and partitive article grouped together?

According to this answer to the question : Do some languages have articles besides the definite and indefinite articles? It is worth noting, I think, that "article" is not a theoretical primitive ...
1
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0answers
94 views

(in)definite articles

Do any languages distinguish between indefinite and definite articles thus: one beer 1sg-drink `I drank A beer.' beer 1sg-drink `I drank THE/A beer.' That is, is it possible for a language to mark ...
0
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1answer
60 views

How much more often is a definite article used with a noun than an indefinite article in the English language?

I'd be happy if I could get an overall answer to this question, but if someone is also capable of breaking this down by single vs. plural nouns nouns as subject vs. nouns as direct objects nouns as ...
0
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1answer
171 views

weak definite article in Engish linguistics

I may be wrong, but I don't seem to have come across the term 'weak definite article' in English linguistics though I think I've encountered it in German or French linguistics. (I've read 'weak ...
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2answers
181 views

Why languages have the concept of "the"

Wondering why you write a sentence like this, with the word the: The person went to the store. La persona fue a la tienda. I don't understand why that extra word needs to be there. It could just ...