Questions tagged [indefinite-article]

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14
votes
2answers
267 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
147 views

Is there a language with dual indefinite articles?

At university, we have been looking into language change, and seeing how for example "one" was used as the singular indefinite article, which changed into "a", but a question arose about whether or ...
6
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1answer
243 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 ...
5
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3answers
553 views

Are there languages with indefinite articles but for which the word for “one” is not related etymologically to any of the indefinite articles?

This is part of a set of three related questions but note they are each specific and distinct, they are not duplicates. In all the languages I'm familiar with that have an indefinite article, the ...
5
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2answers
390 views

Are there languages which lack a full number system but which have an indefinite article?

Most languages have a fully developed concept of numbers but many do not, for instance most Australian Aboriginal languages lack numbers and counting beyond a few such as 1, 2, and 3. Many languages ...
4
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6answers
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
109 views

Is the indefinite article a quantifier?

This may sound like a stupid query, but: Is the indefinite article, a(n), a quantifier? To this date, I've regarded it as a quantifier because, while it is an article, it quantifies an NP to ...
2
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2answers
110 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?
2
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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 ...
1
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1answer
63 views

“Indifferent” reference of specific indefinites?

There is a class of indefinites sometimes called "specific indefinites" that refer to one individual. For example: A man walked into a bar followed by two others. He ordered a drink. With this ...
1
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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 ...
1
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2answers
81 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 ...
0
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1answer
58 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 ...
-3
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2answers
143 views

Does “a” in “I made a mistake” denote indefiniteness? [closed]

I made a mistake. Here, "a" is called the indefinite article in contrast with the definite article "the". But does "a" in this sentence denote indefiniteness? As far as I can tell, "a" is needed ...