Иностранные языки, филология и лингвистика

There re two rticles in English: the definite rticle the [ði:] nd the indefinite rticle [ei]. The notion of definiteness indefiniteness determines the importnt role of the rticle in the process of communiction. The definite rticle usully presents the notion s something lredy known wheres the indefinite rticle introduces new item of informtion.



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The article is a form word that serves as a noun determiner. It is one of the main means of conveying the idea of definiteness and indefiniteness.

There are two articles in English: the definite article the [ði:] and the indefinite article a [ei].

Definiteness suggests that the object presented by the following noun is individualized and singled out from all the other objects of the same kind, whereas indefiniteness means a more general reference to an object.

The notion of definiteness/indefiniteness determines the important role of the article in the process of communication. The definite article usually presents the notion as something already known, whereas the indefinite article introduces a new item of information. The presentation of objects as definite or indefinite, as already known or as new, depends on the speaker or the writer, who by using articles establishes understanding between the speaker and the listener, the writer and the reader.

Since the article is a noun determiner and the noun is the headword in a noun phrase, the syntactical role of the article consists in marking off a noun or a noun phrase as part of the sentence.

The morphological value of the article lies in indicating the substantivization of other parts of speech, mainly adjectives or participles (Her hair was a bright brown), also pronouns (He is such a nothing.), adverbs (There is a Beyond), numerals (She was only just fifty and looked a handsome thirty-five):

Both articles have originated from notional parts of speech, whose influence may be traced in their meaning and use.

The definite article developed from a demonstrative pronoun, which accounts for its meaning of definiteness. The demonstrative force remains in many phrases, such as at the time, of the kind, in its use before restrictive attributes, and in some situational uses.

The indefinite article developed from the cardinal numeral one, The numerical meaning is evident in such phrases and sentences as at a time, in a moment, wait a minute, not a sound was heard.

The pronunciation of the articles and the spelling of the indefinite article depend upon the initial sound of the following word. The indefinite article is spelled as a before consonant and as an before vowel sounds. When stressed it is pronounced respectively as [eɪ] or [æn]. However, since the articles are usually unstressed, the pronunciation of the indefinite article is generally reduced to the neutral vowel [ǝ] before consonants, and to [ǝn] before vowel sounds.

The definite article is pronounced as [ði:] when stressed. When unstressed, it is pronounced as [ðǝ] before consonants and [ðɪ] before vowels:

Since the article is the opening element of a noun phrase, it is placed before the noun it refers to or before all the other noun premodifiers. The exceptions to this rule are as follows:

a) the definite article may be preceded by the predeterminers all and both:

Are you going to cook all the cakes yourself?

b) the indefinite article may be preceded by the predeterminers what, such, quite:

What a sight I am in this hat!

с) the indefinite article is placed after adjectives preceded by the adverbs too, as, so:

That was too difficult a problem for the child to solve.

Absence of the article

The absence of any article, which is sometimes referred to as the zero article, is as meaningful as their actual use. It is regularly observed with countable nouns in the plural, with non-countable nouns used in a general sense, with proper nouns.

In general different uses of nouns without an article from the semantic point of view should be divided into 2 types:

1)the article is deliberately ommited out of stylistic considerations:

It occurs in cases where economy of expression is required and is often accompanied by other ellipses, such as omission of prepositions, auxiliaries, etc.

1. In newspaper headlines:

‘Girl saw Flame’, ‘CTV is winning Fireside Battle’.

2. In telegrams:

Attending cytological congress Rome will stop few days on way love John.

3. In newspaper announcements:

Anna Linden, daughter of a Manchester engineer, made her debut...

4. In stage directions:

At rise of curtain

5. In reference entries or notes:

See table Taxonomic Classification on following page.

In this cases the omitted articles can be easily restored.

2)cases of traditionally fixed absense of the art: a) in set expressions (to bed)

In these set expressions nouns combine with prepositions or verbs and acquire a new shade of meaning, expressing an adverbial relation, a state or a process. Concrete count nouns lose their nominal meaning. Thus He is in bed may mean He is ill, or He is asleep, or He is not up. 

b) plural countable

The plural form without an article corresponds to the classifying and generic uses of the indefinite article and sometimes to the generic use of the definite article.                   

Jane is a student.

Jane and Mary are students.

c) Non-count nouns, abstract or material, when used in a general sense,

Time will show who is right.


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