On the Rise and Development of the Definite Article in the East Germanic Languages
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The aim of this paper is to investigate the rise and development of the definite article in Germanic languages. It is generally assumed that Indo-European language originally had no articles, with the fact that early Indo-European languages like Sanskrit, Homeric Greek and Classical Latin show no articles and even in Proto-Germanic, any article has not been reconstructed. However, in old Germanic languages like Gothic, Old High German and Old English, it is often observed that the demonstratives were used as the lexical definiteness markers in many ways similar to the definite articles of the modern languages. And it has produced, until now, a lot of discussions on the distinction between article-like demonstrative and definite article and the time of the emergence of definite article as a new grammatical category in Germanic languages. This paper, pointing out the problems found in the existing literatures, closely looks into the usages of demonstratives as definiteness markers in old Germanic languages, focusing on the Gothic language, the earliest Germanic language that is attested in sizable texts, and discusses the related problems with the rise and development of the definite article.
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