Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: articles again

From:Tim Smith <timsmith@...>
Date:Saturday, November 14, 1998, 18:44
At 02:46 PM 11/13/98 +0100, lucasso wrote:
>ok, ok so definite article in IE(gremanic & romance) was derived from >demonstrative pronoun... >but what about other languages, have they got articles (i know greek and >celtics from IE and arabic from semitic, are there more)... >and what about indefinite article? in IE it sounds like derived from >one/eins/un/uno... am i correct?
I seem to remember reading somewhere (but I can't remember where) that definite articles, in languages that have them, are always, or almost always, derived from demonstrative pronouns. And you're right about the IE singular indefinite articles being derived from the cardinal number "one". I would guess, although I don't really know, that this would be the most common source of indefinite articles in other language families as well -- although another possible source might be indefinite pronouns like Latin _quidam_ ("a certain (person or thing)"). The only thing I can remember reading about indefinite articles in general is that they're much less common than definite articles (in other words, a lot of languages have definite articles but no indefinite ones, but not vice versa). Again, however, I can't remember where I read this, so I can't cite a source. ------------------------------------------------- Tim Smith "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." -- The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939)