Questions tagged [definiteness]

Definite noun phrases refer to entities that are specific and identifiable in a given context.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
2
votes
0answers
53 views

Pronominalized adjectives in Lithuanian

This is a question for those who are native speakers of Lithuanian or have a very good proficiency in Lithuanian as a second language. As for your feeling, are the definite or pronominalized ...
1
vote
2answers
62 views

truth condition of 'uniqueness' in the (neo) Russellian theory

I'm trying to work out how (∀y (student(y) → y = x) represents uniqueness. How come we need that formula there? Doesn't just ∃x student(x) ⋀ met(j,x)) suffice? Or, would it be the expression for I ...
1
vote
2answers
79 views

Definite descriptions and essentially indistinguishable participants

In the analysis of definite descriptions there is a problem called "The Problem of Indistinguishable Participants", exemplified by the so-called bishop sentences: If a bishop meets a bishop, the ...
1
vote
1answer
98 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. ...
1
vote
3answers
309 views

What about the hypothesis that the Hebrew and Arabic definite articles both evolved from a proto-Semitic word for “god”?

Given the great linguistic similarities between Hebrew and Arabic, it is noteworthy that their definite articles are completely different. Wikipedia's Arabic definite article talks about the theory ...
3
votes
2answers
138 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
239 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 ...
-2
votes
2answers
164 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
140 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

generic definite article with uncountable/mass nouns after preposition 'of' indicating material

The 'generic' subclass of the definite article treated in the pag. 112, section 1.12.3.1 of the Modern Written Arabic: A Comprehensive Grammar reads as follows "it denotes a generic meaning مائدة من ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

What is the hypernym of names, unique titles, and definite descriptions?

The name Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, the unique title The Queen of England, and the definite description the elder daughter of Cecilia Bowes Lyon all refer to the same unique entity. We might think of ...
4
votes
2answers
136 views

How is the the adjective in a definite noun phrase different from a nondefinite one in Germanic and Balto-Slavic languages?

In the wikipedia article about definiteness I came upon this: In the Germanic languages and Balto-Slavic languages, for example (as still in modern German and Lithuanian), there are two paradigms ...
1
vote
2answers
191 views

Definiteness as the default interpretation of NPs

In which languages do non-proper NPs have a default unmarked interpretation as definite, rather than indefinite? In English, the default interpreration of plural and uncountable NPs is normally ...
2
votes
2answers
109 views

Tools to work with definiteness

I am planning to do a research paper in the definite articles of my dialect. Can anyone provide me with any framework that is suitable for analyzing the definite articles?
1
vote
0answers
93 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
336 views

Could any one give an example of bare “kind”-denoting relative clause?

There are two kinds of NPs existential and definite. Sometimes NP that we would expect to be existential behave as they are actually definite. One example of such NPs are those that are kind-denoting. ...
8
votes
3answers
608 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
749 views

How do you gloss a language with no definite or indefinite article?

Some languages have no definite or indefinite article, for example, I think, Polish. So the Polish word kot could mean "a cat" or "the cat". So in a glossed example, and not knowing the context, how ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Distinction between definiteness and specificity

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

References on Definiteness

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 ...
17
votes
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
601 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?
8
votes
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,...