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BY 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2019

Definite articles and their uses

From the book Aspects of Linguistic Variation

  • Ekkehard König


The goal of this paper is to provide the basic outline of a typological study of definite articles, on the basis of both formal and notional criteria, with a focus on European languages. In contrast to earlier contributions to this topic and to recent, more comprehensive typological studies, more attention will be paid to (i) the problems of providing a clear semantic basis for the comparison and (ii) the reconstruction of plausible historical developments, following the leads of Greenberg (1990) and others. In addition to developing a more fine-grained typology of definite articles, the paper will also show that, even in the restricted area of Europe, we find a remarkable diversity in the meaning and use of definite articles.

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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