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Friday 27th of June 2008 07:35:28 AM
Articles: Does your language has an article? Definite and Indefinite? Articles for plural forms of a noun?

Friday 27th of June 2008 05:29:56 PM
Here's a long list, from what I know:

First, realize that the article is a very rare concept in languages, and it just happens that those minority languages are the biggest languages in the world right now. In the 6,000 languages in the world, articles are rare. It's mostly a European concept, along with Arabic, and perhaps a few more. I'm not entirely certain, though.

English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Arabic.

Other Germanic languages (Northern like Swedish, and Southern like Dutch)
Hebrew (so close to Arabic, it must).
Finnish (and likely other Euralic languages.)

Latin [but it can simulate this with the use of 'certain' 'certain person walks', or a demonstrative, 'that']
Generally everything native to the Americas.
Generally everything in Africa south of Arabic.
Generally everything in Australia and surrounding areas.
Japanese, Chinese, and just about every other Asian language.
Russian, etc. (Slavic)

I don't believe that middle Eurasian languages have articles, like the Caucasian group.

Some languages in India might, because they are in the indo-european group. the rest likely don't. I don't know about Celtic.

I don't think Turkish does.

I believe Basque does not (a language isolate in Spain/France).

Now I wonder if Proto-Indo-European is said to have had articles.

As for your second questions, all of the above languages have definite and indefinite as far as I'm aware. And something for plurals, whether different or the same.
In Arabic, the indefinite article is simply the lack of the definite "al-" prefix. Also, technically, there is a different formal case ending for words which can represent the meaning of 'a/an'. Those endings are /on/ /In/ /an/.

(Thanks to the below post for the correction about Slavic languages. I thought I'd read something somewhere, though having articles with a case system doesn't make sense.)

Sunday 29th of June 2008 12:49:37 AM
I think Slavic languages don't have articles (Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian for sure). They use cases with the help of prepositions.
In Italian there are determinative and indeterminative articles.

DETERMINATIVE: (English "the")
Singular: il, lo, la
Plural: i, gli, le
Singular: un, uno, una
There is no plural

The right choice among the articles is guided by the gender of the noun (or adjective), and sometimes by its initial letter

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