What is the significance of articles in Macedonian and Bulgarian? Correct me if I’m wrong, but these are the only Slavic languages that use some system of articles. Does anyone have any insight on how and why this system developed?
That's correct.Correct me if I’m wrong, but these are the only Slavic languages that use some system of articles.
The definite articles developed from demonstratives: Proto-Slavic *vьlkъ-tъ 'this wolf' → Macedonian волкот 'the wolf'.Does anyone have any insight on how and why this system developed?
To be precise, the demonstrative participates in forming indefinite pronouns and adverbs.Russian has generalised the neuter demonstrative as a particle with an indefinite meaning (e.g. где-то, кто-то).
It's interesting, because also in Polish demonstrative pronouns happen to be used as a sort of definite article with an emphatic meaning. For example "co tam z tym piwem?" - if someone went out to bring more beer and does not return for a while. Or "zabieraj stąd ten rower" - when it's clear that the speaker means a bicycle which belongs to the interlocutor without the need to point to it specifically. There's even a book entitled 'Co z tą Polską?'. Sometimes it's difficult to distinguish if the word is used as demonstrative pronoun or as an article, sometimes it's quite clear once you begiin to realize it. Actually, since I learned about it, I notice this phenomenon surprisingly often. It's quite colloquial though.As a particle (clitic) attached to nouns, on the other hand, it has an emphatic meaning in Standard Russian.
If I remember correctly, it's still disputed if North Russian postpositional articles are truly definite articles.
Marking definiteness is one of their main functions, emphatic or not. I doubt their usage was ever restricted to the purely demonstrative meaning.It's interesting, because also in Polish demonstrative pronouns happen to be used as a sort of definite article with an emphatic meaning.
In Macedonian:I gave the book you’re looking for to a friend of mine.
Yes, and it means that the "book" is definite. And we must use a definite article, same like in English.We know what particular book is in question (one that you are looking for)
A random friend - means the friend is indefinite, so English uses "a". And here we discovered another Balkan Sprachbund features found in Macedonian too: clitic doubling and "indefinite" articles.and we know that it was given to a random friend
Му ја дадов книгата што ја бараш на еден мој пријател. = I gave the book you’re looking for to a friend of mine.Or the other way around, what information would be lost if those articles were omitted?
As far as I am aware, it was based on the dialects surrounding Thessalonica (Sołuń, Солоунь). But since most of the divergence of the Slavic languages was a result of contacts with other languages, the Slavic dialects of the 9th century are expected to be much closer one to another than they are today. For example, it's known that the languages spoken in the Kingdom of Czech and in the Kingdom of Poland in 10th or 11th century were basically one language, or at least they were fully mutually understandable. Besides, only in the 10th century the Hungarians conquered the Pannonian Basin and started assimilating local peoples, including the Slavs, thus separating the South Slavic languages from the North Slavic.These grammatical features are absent from Old Church Slavonic, which is allegedly based on some South Slavic dialects.
Some of these languages are mentioned above in the discussion. I can't recall the source at this moment, but I recall reading somewhere that because of a number of structural and grammatical similarities the Balkan Sprachbund was even described as one language with several distinct sets of vocabulary, including Slavic, Illirian, Romance, and Hellenic. It's a very far-reaching statement, though, so probably it does not go that far.We see that only two existing Slavic languages have adopted these features and both of them are located to the southwest of the Common Slavic area. So what other non-Slavic languages in the Balkans have similar rules? Hungarian, Albanian, Romanian, Greek?
Sometimes, for convenience, the West and East Slavic languages are grouped together as North Slavic as they share some features which are not present in the South Slavic group.This was clearly a local phenomenon, as Serbo-Croatian, which is also in the South Slavic group, does not employ articles. None of the West or East Slavic languages use articles.
Indeed, from the geographical perspective, Hungarian is not even close to Bulgarian and Macedonian - and the two even do not have a common borders with the lands massively inhabited by Hungarians - unlike Serbia and Croatia for that matter. What is common for these countries though is proximity of Greece and - historically - Turkey, which had also eliminated the borders between the countries for a period of time. Also Albanian - which is considered to belong to the Balkan Sprachbund as well - is quite at hand, though closer to Macedonia. Not forgetting about Romania at the North, albeit Macedonian is a bit aside from this perspective.I infer from the above that Macedonian and Bulgarian were influenced by Hungarian, which could have happened after the 10th century CE. Since Serbo-Croatian was spoken in approximately the same area, it should have been influenced as well if we follow that logic.
...this is not true!This was clearly a local phenomenon, as Serbo-Croatian, which is also in the South Slavic group, does not employ articles.
We use "один" as a determiner as well, but it has a much narrower meaning than the indefinite article in Western European languages. It indicates that the speaker knows something about the thing (person, creature) he's talking about, while for the listener it's just an ordinary object of this sort. One could say "У меня есть один знакомый, который играет на африканских барабанах" (I have a friend who plays African drums), but "Нам нужна одна новая идея" (We need a new idea) would definitely sound incorrect.Besides the clitic doubling (му ја; ѝ ја etc.) which is obligatory in Macedonian, another Balkan Sprachbund feature present in Macedonian is using of еден, една, едно, едни "one/ones" as "indefinite" articles in some cases. This feature is present in Serbian/Croatian languages, in some way, too.
Without trying to open a can of worms, Macedonian as a language is a fairly new concept. All historical developments should be discussed in the context of Bulgarian only.I infer from the above that Macedonian and Bulgarian were influenced by Hungarian, which could have happened after the 10th century CE.
These South Serbian dialects are not dialects of the Serbian language. They are historically and linguistically part of the Bulgarian dialect continuum. That's why they are closer grammatically to Bulgarian and Macedonian today. It may not be politically correct to say this but it's a fact. The Serbian language spread there much later as it was the language of the country where these lands ended up being a part of. In reality, the original area of Serbian is somewhere in and around Bosnia.Some South Serbian dialects have lost some of the cases too, and some of them use definite articles too. They also have many features of the Balkan Sprachbund.
Thank you for your insight. The Serbo-Croatian dialects you mentioned have been influenced by Bulgarian and Macedonian. I am more interested in what other languages may have influenced Bulgarian and Macedonian when those separated from Common Slavic.
So, in South Slavic languages it has the same meaning as in Germanic and Romance languages. Okay, but from an article named like this I would expect a more detailed comparison of the Southern definiteness system and its Northern counterpart.@Eirwyn You may read a more detailed analyze by Victor A. Friedman in ‘One’ as an Indefinite Marker in Balkan and Non-Balkan Slavic
This opinion is not shared by all linguist. According some linguists the demonstrative pronoun az (<oz) was used in function of article already earlier, at least from the 10th century.... Hungarian developed a system of articles during the 14th and 15th centuries.
I agree. Btw I do not think that any external influence is needed. The Romance languages have articles, but the Latin did not. So did the Romance people "import:" it from the Germanic peoples? .... Etc.It's hard to say why such a change happens in languages, but it seems to be a historical tendency to give this new function to some of the demonstrative pronouns.
Why not?The Romance languages have articles, but the Latin did not. So did the Romance people "import:" it from the Germanic peoples? .... Etc.