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
>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
"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
-- The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939)