ways to express definiteness in Slovenian and Czech

HSS

Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
Hi. I'm totally unfamiliar with Slovenian and Czech, but some need to briefly know about their ways of expressing definiteness has recently arisen.

Am I basically right that they don't have the definite articles, and that they oftentimes place define descriptions toward the top of given sentences?
Also, am I correct that they sometimes use quasi-definite articles, such as demonstratives --- 'that' as translated to English, for example, --- to deliver definiteness?

I don't need to know the details, but just want to know if the above are correct or not.

Thank you!

Moderators: I couldn't change my tag to include 'Czech.' Perhaps, I would be better off using 'all Slavic languages' for my thread.
 
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  • Irbis

    Senior Member
    Slovenian, Slovenia
    I can tell you for Slovenian.
    Yes, we don't have definite (or indefinite) articles in standard Slovenian (in some dialects "ta" and "en" are sometimes used in this role, perhaps influence of German).
    Adjectives have definiteness, but only for masculine singular nominative (and accusative for non-animate form). There is only one adjective in Slovenian, which has separate forms for all cases and genders and numbers, it is "majhen" (small), where definite form is "mali". In pronunciation, there are also separate forms for "velik" (big, large), but they are written the same (eg.: velíka:vélika, both are normally written "velika").
    You can use demonstrative pronoun ("ta", "tisti" (that)) to make emphasis. In the most cases, word order is enough (generally, you move things you know from before in the start of the sentence and new information at the end of the sentence).
    (As a result of this lack of definiteness in my mother tongue, I always have problems with "a/the" when I use English.)
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    I can tell you for Slovenian.
    Yes, we don't have definite (or indefinite) articles in standard Slovenian (in some dialects "ta" and "en" are sometimes used in this role, perhaps influence of German).
    Adjectives have definiteness, but only for masculine singular nominative (and accusative for non-animate form). There is only one adjective in Slovenian, which has separate forms for all cases and genders and numbers, it is "majhen" (small), where definite form is "mali". In pronunciation, there are also separate forms for "velik" (big, large), but they are written the same (eg.: velíka:vélika, both are normally written "velika").
    You can use demonstrative pronoun ("ta", "tisti" (that)) to make emphasis. In the most cases, word order is enough (generally, you move things you know from before in the start of the sentence and new information at the end of the sentence).
    (As a result of this lack of definiteness in my mother tongue, I always have problems with "a/the" when I use English.)
    Much obliged, Irbis.

    A-ha, so they use definite articles in some regions! Interesting! Could I ask you to let me know what are some of the areas, if you know any.

    When you use demonstrative pronouns, is the main purpose just to emphasize? The reason I ask you that is in Finnish, where there used to be no definite article, the demonstrative 'se' is getting to be in a quasi-definite marker status in colloquialism. And I wondered if (nearly about) the same thing is true with your demonstratives.

    As an English language researcher, I need speakers of languages where quasi-definite articles are gaining their statuses in the vernaculars for my current research project. They may have an advantage in tackling the ever-so-difficult definite article 'the' as they may have a better sense of definiteness.

    Thanks, Irbis.
     

    Irbis

    Senior Member
    Slovenian, Slovenia
    I'm not really expert in this subject, perhaps someone else will be able to add something.
    Demonstrative pronoun is in fact the same as definite article: ta.
    This was used more in the past (16th century), but then banished from standard language, because it was considered German influence.
    And I saw some articles claiming that old Slovenian (10th century) had more definite forms for adjectives and even nouns.
    According to Jože Toporišič (Slovenian grammarian) all nouns in Slovenian are definite, so you can only have indefinite article "en" combined with them.
    Definite article ("ta") can only be combined with adjectives (which are by default indefinite). Well known example where definite article is commonly used is phraseme "ta mlada" ("the young (female) one") in meaning "daughter-in-law". But in formal speach one would use "snaha" instead "ta mlada".

    This may be helpful:
    https://www.ung.si/~rzaucer/papers/MarusicZaucer-2007-Adjectival-definite-article-in-Slo.pdf
    https://www.ung.si/~rzaucer/papers/MarusicZaucer-2006-Definite-TA-in-colloq-Slo.pdf
    http://asit.maldura.unipd.it/documenti/ql16/ASIt16_mrunic.pdf
     
    • Thank you!
    Reactions: HSS

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    So you have long been equipped with a definiteness sense. And perhaps the demonstratives are used to emphasize that sense. Great that I talked to you. Thanks.
     
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