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Definiteness
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Definite determiners include the following: definite articles, demonstrative articles, possessive pronouns and definite quantifiers. Pronouns are characteristically used when the referent is known from the discourse context, so pronouns, including possessive pronouns, are inherently definite. Simple definite quantifiers include elkeeach, alleall, beideboth. Complex definite quantifiers are al de, al itall the and the combination of alle followed by a cardinal numeral, such as alle trijeall three.

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Definite quantifiers cannot co-occur with the functional element derthere, as the latter is characteristically used to introduce new discourse referents. An example is given below:

Example 1

*Der rinne alle skiep yn 'e greide
there walk all sheep in the meadow
All sheep walk in the meadow

Possessors, even if they are themselves indefinite, cause the Noun Phrase (NP) in which they are contained to be definite. Consider the following phrases:

Example 2

a. Immen syn skiep
somebody his sheep
Somebody's sheep
b. Immens skiep
somebody's sheep
Somebody's sheep

These two phrases have the definite interpretation the sheep of a person. As a result, they cannot be used in the derthere construction:

Example 3

a. *Der rinne immen syn skiep troch it doarp
there walk somebody his sheep through the village
Somebody's sheep are walking through the village
b. *Der rinne immens skiep troch it doarp
there walk somebody's sheep through the village
Somebody's sheep are walking through the village

The subject NPs cannot receive an indefinite interpretation sheep of a person. A partitive construction must be used in order to express the latter meaning, and correspondingly, a partitive construction can be used in the derthere construction:

Example 4

a. Der rinne skiep fan immen troch it doarp
there walk sheep of somebody through the village
Somebody's sheep are walking through the village
b. Der rinne guon fan immen syn skiep troch it doarp
there walk some of somebody his sheep through the village
Some of somebody's sheep are walking through the village

Definite determiners also have the property that they prevent the paradigm of prenominal adjective agreement from applying, that is, definite determiners are always found with the same form of the adjective, regardless of number and gender (see agreement). Furthermore, the definite determiner and the demonstrative determiner express the number and gender distinctions characteristic of adjectival agreement by virtue of their irregular lexical shape (see agreement).

Table 1
Neuter SG Other
Definite article it de
Proximate demonstrative dit dizze
Distal demonstrative dat dy
The quantifiers elk (archaic: elts) each and welkwhich are exceptional in expressing number and gender in the same way as prenominal adjectives:
Table 2
Neuter SG Other
Adjective rynskabundant rynske
Interrogative quantifier hokwhich hokke
Universal quantifier elkeach elke
It is not clear whether the interrogative quantifier hokwhich should be considered to be an indefinite quantifier or a definite one. It is anyhow surprising that it patterns with (some) definite quantifiers expressing agreement in itself. With respect to its interpretation, consider a question like the following:

Example 5

Hokke boeken hast lêzen?
which books have.2SG read
Which books have you read?

The phrase hokke boekenwhich books seems to presuppose the existence of books in the discourse context, so that it may be considered to be at least partially definite. On the other hand, it can appear in the derthere construction, but derthere appears to be superfluous:

Example 6

a. Hokke boeken soene der op it nachtkastje lizze?
which books would there on the night.drawer lie
Which books would be lying on the table?
b. Hokke boeken soene op it nachtkastje lizze?
which books would on the night.drawer lie
Which books would be lying on the table?

Possibly, this interrogative quantifier is ambiguous between a definite and an indefinite interpretation.

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