ERIC Number: ED105717
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Determination. Working Papers on Language Universals, No. 1.
Moravcsik, Edith A.
This paper argues that the hypothesis that all languages have a definitization process is empirically refutable, and that use of the terminology "definite" and "indefinite" is justified in that it reflects intuitions of grammarians and linguists. The following statements are tested against evidence from samples of different languages: (1) all noun phrases in a discourse may undergo definitization and turn out definite or indefinite; (2) all pronouns may similarly be marked for definitiveness; (3) at least some relative construction heads are definite; (4) numerated nouns, unless they have undergone the definitization, are indefinite. Following this, there is a discussion of the notion of "article" and how it may be described meaningfully. Appendices include tables of Indonesian articles in relation to pronouns, and of cross-linguistic distribution of some definitiveness markers. (Author/AM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Committee on Linguistics.