Categories of definiteness in Classical Armenian

  • Angelika Müth


In this paper, the use of the definite article in semantic and pragmatic categories in the Greek and Classical Armenian New Testament translation is compared. Greek and Classical Armenian agree in their use of the definite article only in NPs determined by contrastive attributes. In all other categories the systems of both languages differ. Generally, Armenian avoids the definite article with proper nouns and nouns with unique reference, while definite articles with proper names in Greek are common (with the exception of sacred or especially “respected” persons such as prophets). If the definite article is present in Greek, it is often motivated by pragmatic factors (e.g. re-topicalization, etc.). There is no clear evidence in Armenian for the use of the definite article as a marker of generic reference, nor for the use in NPs determined by superlative, comparative or ordinal attributes.