9

The present answers are in principle correct, but do not explain the fundamental issues with this idea. In short: The "God" lexeme is relatively infrequent to develop into a definite article. Comparative evidence from Ugaritic and Aramaic suggest that the developments must have taken place largely independently, which makes such an unlikely derivation even ...


8

For English in particular, we have older stages of the language attested: Shakespeare, Chaucer, whoever wrote Beowulf. And we can see that in Beowulf "the" had the force of a demonstrative, but through Chaucer and Shakespeare to the modern day it lost that force. In general, though, the process of a common word losing its semantic force and turning into a ...


6

The adjective systems in Balto-Slavic and German languages are similar only from a very broad typological and historical point of view. Most Slavic languages — I can speak about Russian, but it must not be too different elsewhere — have a special morphological paradigm (i.e. a set of endings) for the adjectives when they stand in the modifier position with ...


6

The lines are blurry, but there are some good reasons to see these as distinct suffixes and not inflections: etymology Some of the suffixes evolved from previously separate words like determiners and pronouns like ille and tъ. In fact, in Romanian the suffix itself is declined and can also occur separately for emphasis. grammar In Macedonian, Bulgarian ...


6

As A. M. Bittlingmayer pointed out, this concept is far from universal: languages like Russian, Turkish, Latin, and Swahili have no articles at all. Even in languages that have definite articles (some equivalent to "the"), how they're used varies widely. French uses the definite article for abstract concepts, where English wouldn't: la mort = literally "the ...


5

Well, I explained the why it's useful in your other question so if you're asking about the process as curiousdannii said, that is you are asking about the grammaticalisation cycle, I could explain a little about the process. Latin has a rich case system allowing free word order which is used as as a discourse marker; words encoding new or salient ...


5

A native speaker here. They are definitely not rare, one can treat them as commonplace. And not just adjectives, but also pronominalized participles and pronouns. But they are also not as frequently used as the simple versions, since they do serve a different and definite purpose, namely to denote a permanent and distinctive feature by either emphasizing (e....


4

The rule is different. It only applies when the possessive pronoun is substantive: Este é meu livro, o seu é o outro. (This is my book, yours is the other one.) In most other contexts, the use of the definite article is optional, not mandatory, and I don't think there is any difference between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese in this regard. In ...


4

In Bulgaria, the definite article did start as a separate word, which loosely translates to "this one". or "he", "she" and "it" for the 3 genders, so Bulgarian ended with different suffixes for each gender. As example: котка+тя = котката [kotka + tya = kotkata] {cat+she} FEMALE куче+то = кучето [kuche + to = kucheto] {dog+it} NEUTRAL елен+той = еленът [...


3

Person went to store. In Russian Человек пошел в магазин, in Turkish Kişi mağazaya gitti. Wondering why that word is in English, and if all languages have this feature or some of them do it like the last example. https://wals.info/chapter/37


3

Generally (in Central Italian), the definite article always accompanies a possessive pronoun - except when referring to a certain kinship names (singenionimi) in the singular. These are: padre, madre, figlio, figlia In many dialects of Italian this is extended to include: mamma, papà, fratello, sorella, zio/-a, cugino/-a nonno/-a, moglie, marito, cognato/-...


3

Not a complete answer, but to the question on variations in different standards and dialects: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_Portuguese#Definite_article_before_possessive The Portuguese version says that both standards allow both variants, but that there are perceptions that the definite article is used less in Brasil. https://pt.wikipedia.org/...


3

The wikipedia article is (as often) badly formulated. "In the Germanic languages" is wrong. "In (some) Germanic languages" would be all right.


3

A complete list or fraction will be subjective, because each case has nuances - for one thing even languages with definite articles use them differently - and because it is always subjective what should count as a separate language. Roughly speaking, among the languages of Eurasia and the Western world, essentially Slavic, Ural-Altaic (regardless of the ...


3

As a native speaker of French, my feeling is that your premise that the phenomenon is primarily of cognitive origin is most likely false. It is not the case, I think, that I conceptualize water differently when thinking/speaking in French or in English, it is rather that the same cognitive process are not syntactically encoded in the same ways in these two ...


2

I am currently working on some DP/NP distinctions in codeswitching of Romanian and Serbo-Croatian (Romanian is a DP language - meaning, it has both definite and indefinite artcles and Serbo-Croatian (SC) is an NP language, that lacks the definite article, therefore it lacks definiteness) SC, on the other hand, has means of expressing SPECIFICITY on ...


2

What you are looking for is probably the singular term, i.e. a term that inherently refers to an object, see here. On the other hand, following Frege, we have predicates (or functions) denoting concepts, and propositions that refer to truth-values (which are thought as two really existing object: the Truth and the False). Note that Frege's intention was to ...


2

The Arabic divine name allāhu does indeed contain the article al-, it being (according to the generally held view) a contraction of al + ʼilāhu. The Biblical divine names Yahweh and Elohim do not contain an article, though (Orthodox) Jews of the present time do refer to their god usually as hash-shem “the name”, which does contain the Hebrew article, of ...


1

Suppose you've phoned me about some issue or other, and I tell you what it says in SPE, which I say I am looking at right now, open on the bed in front of me. What am I referring to as "the bed"? Have I implied that there is only one bed in my neighborhood, or in my house, or in this room I'm in right now? None of those. It's the unique bed in ...


1

The existential quantifier doesn't mean "one", it means "at least one". So ∃x(student(x) ⋀ met(j,x)) translates as "John met at least one student". This formalization is consistent with structures in which there exist several students, but this should be ruled out, given that the English sentence uses the definite article "...


1

I think it solves most of the natural language problem to realize that a definite description conveys the uniqueness of its referent (rather than assuming it). And the rest is solved when you realize that there is a variety of circumstances that make utterances difficult for hearers to interpret. The possibility that the speaker apparently conveys ...


1

If we translate the two sentences, preserving the definite/indefinite articles, we would get something like: مائدة من النحاس المحفور = a table of (the) engraved brass Of course in English, you would not typically use the in this context. عوارض غليظة من خشب = rough joists of (some) wood In practice, often the definite or indefinite forms would be used ...


1

I strongly recommend looking at systemic functional linguistics. SFL can offer a few different perspectives. At the syntax level, which SFL calls lexicogrammar, it would be useful to look at the use of the nominal group structure. At another level, which SFL calls discourse semantics, it would be useful to look at the system of reference e.g. https://books....


1

Mostly by word order and (in spoken language) tune. There are also languages that use topic and/or focus markers such as Quechua.


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible