• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
Function of the definite article
quickinfo

The definite article indicates that the domain of discourse is constructed in such a way that its Noun Phrase (NP) has a unique referent in a local domain of discourse. This implies that its NP is a topic that is either familiar from the preceding discourse, or is common knowledge which is known anyhow to the discourse participants.

readmore

For a referent to become familiar, it must first be introduced into the discourse. Indefinites are used to signal the first introduction of a new referent in the discourse. The following discourse illustrates this:

Example 1

Der wie in frou yn 'e winkel en dy hie wat stellen. Doe kaam de plysje, mar de frou woe de boete net betelje
there was a woman in the shop and she had something stolen then came the police but the woman wanted the fine not pay
There was a woman in the shop and she had stolen something. Then the police came, but the woman did not want to pay the fine

In this example, the discourse has made the NP frouwoman a familiar referent. A definite NP like the president or the boss bears the definite article because this referent is already known to the discourse participants; this referent directly conjures up a familiar discourse.

References:
    Suggestions for further reading ▼
    phonology
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    morphology
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    • -s
      [69%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Adverbial suffixes > Noun as base
    • Definite Article
      [69%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Articles
    • In prenominal position
      [68%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
    • Ellipsis
      [68%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
    • Case
      [68%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Nouns
    Show more ▼
    syntax
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    • 5.2.2.2. Interpretation
      [72%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 5 Determiners: articles and pronouns > 5.2. Pronouns > 5.2.2. Possessive pronouns
    • 5.1.2.1. Proper nouns
      [71%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 5 Determiners: articles and pronouns > 5.1. Articles > 5.1.2. Noun phrases without an article
    • 5.1.1.2. Definiteness and indefiniteness
      [71%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 5 Determiners: articles and pronouns > 5.1. Articles > 5.1.1. Noun phrases headed by an article
    • 3.3.1. Adpositional phrases
      [71%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 3 Projection of noun phrases II: modification > 3.3. Postmodification
    • 6.1.1.2. Semantics
      [71%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 6 Numerals and quantifiers > 6.1. Numerals > 6.1.1. Cardinal numerals
    • Mood
      [66%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 1. Characterization and classification
    • Tenses
      [63%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 1. Characterization and classification > 1.5. Tense, epistemic modality and aspect
    • Finite declarative complement clauses: Construction forms
      [63%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 5. Complement Clauses > 5.1. Finite declarative complement clauses
    • Clause
      [63%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Adjective Phrases > Complementation > PP
    • Verb complement clauses (Overview)
      [62%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases
    Show more ▼
    cite
    print