Re: definite/indefinite articles
|From:||Paul Burgess <paul@...>|
|Date:||Monday, March 31, 2003, 13:35|
3/30/03 9:10:53 PM, Michael David Martin
> I've got a basic question regarding the definiteand indefinite articles
>('the' 'a') - are they really necessary? Is there anyreason to have them?
>How about having the definite article but not theindefinite article? I was
>just wondering if there was a reason that a languageshould have them.
>Hope this question isn't too simple, but I am a noviceto conlanging. Thanks
>for your answers.
Michael, greetings! I'm a 33-year veteran of conlanging,
but a novice to this group.
In my conlang, Hermetic, the article "mna" is neither
definite nor indefinite, it precedes proper nouns
exactly the same as it does common nouns, and its use
depends on which of the ten noun cases you're talking
"Mna" always precedes a noun in the nominative case,
unless its place is taken by a number or a demonstrative
It always precedes the accusative, except for a few
words which are considered in some sense "unique"
("avnoth," "everything"; "chaloth", "nothing"), or when
the accusative is the object of a preposition or of a
comparative adjective or adverb.
It never precedes the equative case, except for a few
words which are considered "unique"-- even shorter list
of these than with the accusative.
It precedes the genitive, dative, and instrumental only
with an emphatic or reflexive meaning.
It also precedes the illative with an emphatic or
reflexive meaning, though more reluctantly, as this
renders the illative identical to the nominative-- in
such a situation, often a postposition is used to
underscore the case distinction.
It precedes the locative in a construction I call (for
no good reason) the "locative absolute": "mna lnitho,"
"the woodlawn" (nominative); "slnitho," "on the
woodlawn" (locative); "mna slnitho," "the place where
the woodlawn is" (locative absolute).
It never precedes the vocative or the instrumental.
It also occasionally precedes personal pronouns, under
case-driven conditions similar to the above, although it
is *much* more reluctant to appear before a pronoun than
before a noun-- hence primarily in instances of emphasis
or reflexivity, and in that capacity sometimes even
before a nominative or accusative pronoun.
And in Hermetic the article "mna" also sometimes
precedes the verb, under a complicated idiomatic tangle
of conditions. It also appears free-floating preceding a
postposition in certain jury-rigged, informal
So you can be just as creative and complicated as you
wish, in the use of an article in your conlang!