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26-04-2023  (430 lectures) Categoria: Llengua

Artikel i la seva història

checked version of this page, approved on 11 March 2023, was based on this revision.

An article (from Latin articulus 'joint'), in traditional grammar also gender word or companion, is a word that is regularly used in connection with a noun (including nouns) and characterizes it primarily with regard to its definiteness.

In German, there is congruence, i.e. matching of characteristics, between article and noun in gendernumber and case. In German and some other languages, the gender of the noun can only be seen directly on the article. However, it is not essential for the concept of the article that such characteristics are expressed; therefore, the German term "gender word" is not generally used in grammar. It is possible for a language to distinguish gender in nouns, but at the same time not in articles, as in Welsh.

An article has no meaning of its own in terms of content, but relates the description of the content given by the accompanied noun to concrete individuals, for example in the following way:

  • He introduces a new individual with the help of the given description: an infant sits in this car. (a)
  • He takes up an individual that has already been mentioned and can be clearly identified according to the description: Give me the infant! (b)
  • It refers to an individual that has not yet been mentioned, but whose existence can be clearly identified by both sender and receiver: she has to go to the hospital, the baby is coming. (c)
  • A general statement is made about something that is known by its nature: an infant has not yet mastered spelling. (d)

Such features of meaning are called indefinite (a), definite (b), specific (c) and generic (d) in grammar; they are grouped together in the grammatical category Determination.

These meaning features do not necessarily have to be expressed by independent words, but can also be indicated by affixes that have no status as independent words (e.g. in the Scandinavian or Balkan languages). However, articles as independent words are prominent in that they appear in the major languages of Western Europe, which are spread all over the globe: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German.


Linguistic assignment


Due to their function as companions of nouns, articles in recent linguistics are classified as determinatives (also determinants, determiners, article words; DET). Under the extended definition of part of speech, adjectival pronouns are also included as article words. It should be noted that article words are only evaluated as such if they accompany a noun. Without this feature, they are ordinary pronouns.

In addition to the article in the narrower sense, such determinatives include forms derived from pronouns that can replace the article, for example, no computer program instead of a computer program.

Languages that have neither an article in the sense nor an article word are articleless, even if the article word is included in the further definition of the part of speech 'article' (ART). However, an article type (such as Slavic languages) may well have article words, for example: Latin iste homo or Russian этот мужчина for german 'this man'[1]

Syntactic status

The addition of an article creates a completed syntactic phrase. However, there are differing views as to whether in this compound the article represents the syntactic head or the noun; accordingly, either a determinant phrase or a noun phrase is spoken.


There are two semantically distinguishable articles, namely the definite and the indefinite article. For their function, see the keyword definiteness. German has both (the and one). Other languages, such as Ancient Greek, have only one definite article, still others, such as Turkish, have only one indefinite article, while most languages have no article at all.

The languages with article differ in the extent to which its use in nominal expressions is possible or mandatory. In German, for example, indefinite plural nominal syntagms (as in there were students) and indefinite mass nouns (as in can you lend me money?) have a so-called null article. [2][3] Since this articleless form is paradigmatic to the indefinite article, it is also referred to as the so-called indefinite zero article. For the indefinite plural form (students), a plural zero article is assumed, to distinguish it from the zero article for innumerable nouns, such as money or thirst.

The German articles are congruent with the noun to which they belong in the grammatical categories of gendernumber and case. In many cases, these categories are more recognizable by the article than by the ending of the noun, such as the woman in the nominative and accusative or the woman in the genitive and dative. Therefore, the methodological importance of the article leads to the analysis of these categories. Thus, in the German spelling dictionary, too, the gender of the form of the definite article is der, die, das indicated.

Historical development of the article

Dissemination of definite and indefinite articles in the languages of Europe:
  • definite and indefinite article
  • specific article only
  • indefinite article and definite suffixes
  • only definite suffixes
  • No product
  • The original Indo-European language, from which most of Europe's languages developed over the last 5000 years, did not yet have an article according to current knowledge. The articles were only written in the various daughter languages.

    The indefinite article

    In many languages, the indefinite article developed from the numeral (numeral word) for 1 and is therefore often identical with it in form.

    Latin ūnus/ūna/ūnum (from Old Latin oinos[4]) (m./f./n.)
    → Italian uno/una
    → french un/une
    → Catalan un/una
    → spanish un/una
    → Portuguese um/uma

    However, in contrast to the number word, it is usually not or only weakly stressed and has therefore changed so much in its form in some languages and dialects that it can be clearly distinguished from the number word:

    Latin ūnus/ūna/ūnum (m./f./n.)
    → Romanian unu/una (numeral)
    → Romanian un/o (indefinite article)
    Old English Ān
    → New English one (numeral)
    → New English a, an (indefinite article)
    Old High German einer/einiu/einaz (m./f./n.)
    → Middle High German ein/ein/ein (m./f./n.)
    → Bavarian oa (numeral word, standard form for all generations)
    → Bavarian a (indefinite article, standard form for all generations)

    For the different function of numerals and indefinite articles, compare the following German sentences, where the accent is marked in bold:

    I want a pencil. (Satzak accent on the numeral: exactly one, not two or more)
    I want a pencil. (Satzak accent on the object: and not something else, such as a ballpoint pen)
    I want a pencil. (Satzakzent on the subject: and not someone else, e.g. my colleague)
    want a pencil. (Satzakzent on the predicate: and have not already)

    Only in the first sentence is the form of the numeral word for 1, and it is always emphasized as such. In the remaining sentences is  an indefinite article and means an arbitrary one; as such, it does not carry the accent of the sentence, but leans in emphasis on the corresponding noun (in this case: pencil).

    The difference is also recognizable by the fact that the indefinite article – in contrast to the numeral word for 1 – can be reduced to a cliticon in colloquial German and thus completely loses its status as an independent word with stress:

    I want a pencil.
    I want a pencil.

    In newer forms of colloquial language, however, the indefinite article is newly formed by enrichment with the particle stripped of its deictic function as follows:

    I want a pencil like that.

    The definite article

    The oldest language for which the use of a particular article can be proven is Greek. The corresponding morpheme goes back to a Proto-Indo-European demonstrative, which has lost its demonstrative function in the course of the development of the Greek language to such an extent that it can be converted into a specific article:

    Proto-Indo-European *só deh₂mos (demonstratively: "these people")
    → ancient Greek ὁ δῆμος (ho dēmos, definit: "the people"; also "the whole population of an area")[5]

    There are also articles in Wulfila's Gothic translation of the Bible, the use of which Ingerid Dal attributes to the influence of the Greek source text in which articles were used. In Old High German (which is not a continuation of Gothic), the use of the article is also documented, although not yet in all consistency: The definite article developed from the demonstrative pronouns dërdiu, daz and was already used as a relative pronoun. As a result, the so-called compound demonstrative pronouns arose from the simple demonstrative pronoun and the non-inflectable demonstrative particle se. Therefore, only the first part is inflected at first; the final flexion will only become the rule here later.

    In Middle High German, the occurrence of articleless nouns is already very limited; the use of the definite as well as the indefinite article becomes the rule in Middle High German. In this language period, there is also the form of article placement before possessive pronoun and noun, which is impossible in New High German: die iuweren schoenen tohter. Another construction that is uncommon today is the simultaneous use of definite and indefinite articles, which can be detected above all before a relative clause or superlativea daz schoenste gras. Only gradually did the development reach the point where the alternative use of definite or indefinite article or articlelessness corresponded to concrete differences in meaning. Before personal names, the use of articles fluctuates; many German varieties know it,[6] but not the standard language. In Swiss German, for example, it says: i ha der Marco gseh = "I have seen [the] Marco", although this has happened less frequently in recent times. [7]

    Today, this trend can also be observed to some extent in some Baltic and Slavic languages. In Czech, contextual nouns are often preceded by a demonstrative pronounas is Lithuanian. In Polishdemonstrative pronouns occasionally appear after the occasion, emphasizing the aforementioned expressions.

    The ever-increasing penetration of article use can be traced back to a constant tendency in the development of subsyllables, which continues into contemporary language. For reasons of linguistic economy, there is a weakening of subsyllables and also an ejection of subsyllables vowel (apocope and syncope). This phonetic constant has consequences for the system of forms, as it has a significant effect on the inflectional morphemes. Due to the weakening of the full-tone final vowels to the schwa ([ə], usually spelled e), different cases formally coincide; the article is needed to display the case. Consequently, the attenuation of subordinate syllables reinforces the tendency from synthetic to analytical language construction. However, it is also discussed whether the attenuation of subordinate syllables might not be a consequence of the advent of the definite article.

    The article in the different languages

    The various daughter languages of Indo-European have developed articles only gradually. This happened in the Germanic languages such as German and English, in the Romance languages, the Celtic languages, Bulgarian, Albanian and Armenian. In AlbanianBulgarianRomanian and the North Germanic languages, the indefinite article is prefixed as in German, but the definite article is realized as a suffix – but this falls within the area of determinational inflection.

    The article in the West Germanic languages

    All modern West Germanic languages have developed both a definite (def) and indefinite (indef) article (ART) as independent words; both precede the noun (NOM) they determine. Their use is broadly similar in all these languages; For comparison, consider the following sentence in the various West Germanic standard languages:

    English: The Sun Is a starling.
    West Frisian: En senses Is in Stjer.
    Dutch: En Zon Is een St.
    Afrikaans: The Son Is 'n St.
    Luxembourgish: D' Sundays ace En Stär.
    German: The Sun is one Star.

    In this example sentence, the definite article marks the noun sun as a (contextual) unique, i.e. there is only one possible reference object outside the language (regardless of the fact that there are, of course, many stars that, by definition, can also be suns for any other planets). On the other hand, the noun star is applicable to a whole class of reference objects outside the language. The indefinite article fulfills the generic function of assigning the generic name star as a predicate to the unique specimen sun and thus the extra-linguistic reference object "sun" to the linguistic term class of "stars".

    The article in the North Germanic languages

    Compare the following sentence in the various North Germanic written languages, where although the indefinite article is an independent word (ART.indef) and precedes the noun to be determined (NOM), definiteness is often expressed by a suffix (=def) on the noun. This suffix (developed from the Old Norse demonstrative pronoun hinn, hin, hit) combines with the noun to be determined to form a word and is not graphically separated from the noun in these written languages either, but is segmented from the noun in the following overview for the purpose of visualization by means of =:

    Icelandic: sól=in he Ø Stjarna.
    Faroese: sól=in he one Stjørna.
    Norwegian (Nynorsk): sol=a he egg Stjerne.
    Norwegian Bokmål: sol=a or sol=en he en or ei Stjerne.
    Swedish: sol=en är En Stjärna.
    Danish: sol=en he En Stjerne.
    West and South Jutland, however: æ sol he En Stjar.

    However, as far as nouns are preceded by adjectives, the article is also preceded in these languages as an independent word, i.e. Solen er rød "the sun is red", but den røde sol "the red sun".

    In Swedish and Norwegian, the article ending is also preserved, the "double determination", i.e. (Swedish) the röda solen or (Norwegian) the røde sola. This "double determination" also applies in the East Danish dialect Bornholmisch. In Swedish, the preceding article is omitted in fixed phrases, e.g. Svarta Havet "Black Sea", högra handen "the right hand", svenska folket "the Swedish people" as a fixed idiom, such as "the Swedes".

    As the only subpart of the North Germanic language area, the West and South Judi dialects use the preceding definite article æ. It is not inflected according to gender or number.

    The article in the Romance languages

    In the Romance languages, there is also a definite and an indefinite article,. In Vulgar Latin, however, the use of the demonstrative pronoun ille  as a definite article has gradually become established and has been further developed in the Romance languages (except in Sardinian, where the pronoun ipse becomes the definite article su/sa instead of ille). The use is very similar to that of the West Germanic languages (compare above). In the Western Romance languages, the definite article has the status of a syntactically independent word, while in the Balkan Romance languages it is suffixed (see the following chapter).

    until the 2nd century AD Classical Latin Ø Sol Est Ø sidus.
    2nd–8th century AD Vulgar Latin (Ille) Sol Est (una) Stella.
    Modern period
    (16th–21st century)
    Sardinian Su Brine Est un' Isteddu.
    Italian Il Brine è Una Stella.
    Portuguese O Sol é Uma estrela.
    Spanish El Sol it Una Estrella.
    Catalan El Sol és UN Estel.
    French Le Soleil Est Une étoile.
    Romansch Il Sulegl è Ina Staila.
    Friulian Il Soreli al è Une stele.

    The article in the Celtic languages

    All Insular Celtic languages have had an article since the earliest tradition. Whether the mainland Celtic languages also had an article cannot be determined on the basis of the sparse tradition.

    The article in the Balkan languages

    The languages of the Balkansprachbund, although most of them are only distantly related to each other, have undergone parallel developments (or influenced each other) with regard to article formation: While the indefinite article was derived from the number word for 1, as in all European languages, and has the status of a syntactically independent word, the definite article has been clitized and now functions as a suffix (=def), which merges with the noun (NOM):

    Albanian Diell=i ёshtё NJЁ yll.
    Bulgarian Slănce=to e Ø zvezda.
    Macedonian Sonce=to e Ø Dzvezda.
    Romanian Soare=le Estonian o stea.

    Armenian behaves similarly to the Iranian languages, although it does not belong to these:

    Armenian արեւ=ը մի աստղ է.
    Latin transcription Arev=ё Wed ASSGH e.

    Greek has a structure similar to that of Western European languages, although it is counted among the Balkan languages for many other criteria:

    Modern Greek Ο Ήλιος είναι ένας αστέρας.
    Latin transcription O Ilios Ine Enas asteras.

    The article in Slovenian colloquial language

    Slovenian also has an indefinite article in colloquial language (formed from the numeral en, ena, eno ('one, one, one')) and a particle ta ('this'), which expresses definiteness and acts similarly to an article:

    En nov kolega je prišel. ("A new colleague has arrived.")
    Ta nova kolegica je simpatična. ("This new colleague is likeable.")

    However, these only occur in connection with the indefinite form of the adjective. In written language, en and ta must be omitted from the two examples.

    Non-Indo-European languages with article

    The following languages also have an article or similar elements

    Although Chinese, Thai languages and Vietnamese do not have an article, they use so-called classifiers or counting words to express definiteness (in the case of demonstratives) or indefiniteness (with the counting word 1) and divide the representational world into form classes.

    The class affixes of the Bantu languages or the West Atlantic languages, on the other hand, classify the nominal world according to word classes, but express neither definiteness nor indefiniteness.

    Some Mayan languages (e.g., Tzotzil) use form/geometry-specific position verbs to mark specific positions in space. [8]


    In Basque, there is both a definite and an indefinite article. Both are re-enacted to the respective noun they accompany:

    Basque Eguzki=a izar .bat There.
    German (literally) Sun=the Star one is.

    The indefinite article is identical to the number word for 1.

    Semitic languages

    Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew each have a specific, but not indefinite article (see also under "External links"). However, Standard Arabic denotes the status of a noun in a Portmanteau morpheme, which simultaneously indicates case and indeterminacy/definiteness of the noun (in this example =tun for feminine indefinite nominative). The definite article (def=) is graphically and phonetically merged into one word with the noun it accompanies:

    Modern Hebrew ha-šémeš Ø koḫáv.
    Standard Arabic aš-šámsu Ø náǧma(-tun).*

    * The ending "-tun" is not spoken at the end of a sentence

    The fusion of the Arabic article al- in front of the so-called sun letters is particularly strong.

    Articleless languages

    Sign "Ahlbeck border market greets its guests" without a specific article in Świnoujście, Poland (2020)

    Many languages do not have an article. But they, too, usually have linguistic means to express or emphasize the definiteness or indeterminacy of a noun.

    Slavic and Baltic languages

    Most modern Baltic and all Slavic languages (except Bulgarian and Macedonian, which are part of the Balkan Language League) have neither definite nor indefinite articles. In colloquial language, Slovenian has both a definite and an indefinite article. An overview of the main Baltic and Slavic standard languages (excluding the Balkan Slavic languages):

    Language branchLanguageNOM
    Baltic Latvian Pillar Ir Zvaigzne.
    Lithuanian Saulė (yra) žvaigždė.
    Slavic West Slavic Polish Słońce Jest Gwiazdą.
    Slovak Slnko ever Hviezda.
    Czech Slunce ever Hvězda.
    South Slavic Croatian Sunce ever Zvijezda.
    Serbian Sunce ever zvezda.
    Slovenian Sonce ever zvezda.
    East Slavic Russian Solnce zvezda.
    Ukrainian Sonce Zorja.
    Belarusian Sonca Zorka.

    In the example sentence, these languages regulate the semantic functions specificity (the sun) and genericity (a star) by means of the word order (see topic-rhema structure), which is fixed in this example sentence and cannot be reversed as in German (Ein Stern ist die Sonne.).

    In sentences with full verbs (except for the copula to be, which is hardly used in the present tense in many Slavic languages), the Slavic languages also have expressive possibilities by means of the verbal category aspect, the effects of which can overlap with the meaning of articles.

    Furthermore, demonstrative pronouns, which historically underlie the definite articles in all Indo-European languages, can take over the marking of definiteness,[9] for example in colloquial Czech:

    ten měsíc (m.) "this moon"
    ta hvězda (f.) "this star"
    ti lidé (m./Pl.) "these people"
    ty hvězdy (f./Pl.) "these stars"

    However, this is not an article in the grammatical sense, since it cannot be applied because of its demonstrative meaning, for example in the example sentence above:

    *To slunce je hvězda. (cf. german "*This sun is a star.")

    Turkic languages

    The Turkic languages do not know the part of speech of the article. The noun is fundamentally indifferent according to definiteness or indeterminacy, also according to singular or plural. Other linguistic means are used to reproduce definiteness or indeterminacy, unless this is already clear from the speech situation. Thus, in Turkish, the possessive suffix, often of the 3rd person -(s)i/ı/ü/u, can express specificity, but specificity should not be confused with definiteness:

    en büyük "Very big, biggest"
    en büyüğü "the greatest (of these)"
    iyi "Good"
    iyisi "the good (of both)"

    A case suffix in the accusative case can also express specificity:

    Bir elma aldım. "I took an apple."
    but: Elmayı aldım. "I took the apple."

    Often the numeral bir "eins" is used in a similar way to the indefinite article in German. Textbooks often refer to the word as an indefinite article for the sake of better comprehensibility. However, the parallelism is only apparent, because in Turkish the meaning as a number word is in the foreground. It marks the reference word as an individualized, but not further defined singular. Compare (the word almak also means "to buy"):

    Bir elma aldım. "I bought an apple." (only one apple)
    İki elma aldım. "I bought two apples."
    but: Elma aldım. "I bought apples." (or an apple, the number remains indeterminate, it just depends on the species.)

    When using the plural in this speech situation, the apples must be individualized and thus determined and take on the accusative ending:

    Elmaları aldım. "I bought the apples."

    However, the accusative case in Turkish can also be placed after a word with the numeral bir, which illustrates the difference between definiteness and specificity that is not marked in German:

    non-specific: Ahmet bir kadın arıyor. "Ahmet is looking for a woman" (i.e. any, the main thing is a woman).
    Specifically: Ahmet bir kadını arıyor. "Ahmet is looking for a wife" (i.e. a certain one)

    There is also no specific article in the other Turkic languages; however, the number word for 1 can be used as an indefinite article in all of them:

    Azeri Günəş (bir) ulduz.
    Tatar Kojaş (About) Juldyz.
    Chuvash Xəvel (pĕr) śăltăr.
    Turkish Güneş (bir) yıldız dır.
    Uzbek Quyosh (bir) yulduz.

    However, the use of the numeral word is not arbitrary, but leads to a nuanced shift in meaning. Güneş bir yıldız means: The sun is a star (= a specimen of the set "star"). Güneş yıldız(dır), on the other hand, would rather mean: The sun has the property of being a star/is "stary".

    Finno-Ugric languages

    In the Baltic Finnic languages, there are neither definite nor indefinite articles; in the Hungarian language, on the other hand, it is:

    Estonian Ø Päike on Ø täh.
    Finnish Ø Aurinko on Ø tähti.
    Hungarian A Nap --- egy csillag.

    Partitive article

    In some languages there is the so-called division article, for example in French (de) and in Italian (di) in conjunction with the definite article. It is used when the noun indicates an innumerable quantity and is obligatory in French and optional in Italian – for example:

    Je mange du pain. (literally: "I eat of bread.")
    it. Mangio (del) pane. (literally: "I eat (of) bread.")

    Historically, the partition article existed in almost all Romance languages; it lasts the longest in the central Romanesque area (Italo, Rhaeto- and Galloromania).

    Proprialer article

    In some European languages, there is a tendency to add the definite article to proper nouns (so-called nomina propria) when used as clauses, although proper nouns within a sentence usually already clearly refer to an extra-linguistic individual. This is common, for example, in the southern German colloquial language:

    Monika helped Peter.

    Such an article is semantically expletive, i.e. it does not in any way change the meaning of the proprium or noun phrase it accompanies. That's why it's called a proprietary article.

    Proprial use of the definite article can be found

    Its continuous distribution area across the main ridge of the Alps and various language families is striking. [10]

    Standard German also knows the proprial article if the name is provided with an adjectival (left) attribute or a noun left attribute:

    The beautiful Monika
    The girl Rosemarie


    The proprial article of the Catalan language deserves special attention; there it is also distinguished morphologically (i.e. in sound and writing) from the definite article for appellatives. Compare:

    En Joan va portar el llibre.
    Joan brought the book.
    L'home va portar el llibre.
    The Mann brought the book.


    In the Malagasy language, not only is the proprial article formally different from the definite article ny for communia, but there are even different forms of the proprial article, depending on whether it is used for personal or place names:

    • For place names, the article has the form an-, such as in the capital of MadagascarAntananarivo.
    • For people, in turn, there are different forms depending on gender and according to the intention and relationship of the speaker to the person being discussed (speaker):
    male speakerfemale speaker
    Ratiofamiliar i i
    distant Ra (ikala)
    Intentionrespectful Ilai Ra
    Honorific Andria
    pejorative --- ikala
    • For the plural, the proprial article has the form ry in front of groups of people who form a family, for example.
    • The forms ilai and ikala are also used before male and female animal names, respectively.

    Forms of German articles


    Both the definite and the indefinite article of the German

    • Gender: masculine, feminine, neutral,
    • Numerus: Singular, Plural,
    • Case: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative


    From a purely mathematical point of view, 24 different inflections would be possible per article. De facto, however, only six forms of the definite article occur, and seven forms of the indefinite article, most of which assume several grammatical functions in the respective paradigm.

    It should be noted that the indefinite plural article always shows the zero form ∅:

    Someone bought a book yesterday. (singular)
    Someone bought  books yesterday. (Plural)
    BUT: Someone bought some/many books yesterday (indefinite quantifiers))

    Even in the singular, the indefinite article usually has the null form as a companion of nouns that refer to something uncountable (unless the intrinsically innumerable object is portioned):

    I bought a book yesterday. (countable)
    I bought  flour yesterday. (innumerable)
    BUT: I bought a pound of flour yesterday (indefinite quantifiers))

    Here is an overview of the full inflectional paradigm of the indefinite article:

    The indefinite article
    Zählbare Substantive („countable nouns“)Unzählbare Substantive
    („uncountable nouns“)
    aller Genera
    Nominativ ein eine ein
    Genitiv eines einer eines
    Dativ einem einer einem
    Akkusativ einen eine ein

    Der bestimmte Artikel zeigt im Plural einen Zusammenfall der Formen für alle drei Genera:

    Der bestimmte Artikel
    Nominativ der die das die
    Genitiv des der des der
    Dativ dem der dem den
    Akkusativ den die das die

    In der linguistischen Diskussion herrscht Uneinigkeit darüber, ob die bestimmten Artikel als freie Morpheme anzusehen sind, oder ob sie analog zum Demonstrativpronomen {dies-} ein Flexionsparadigma zu {d-} oder {de-} bilden, d. h. derde-er, diede-e und dasde-es.

    Gebrauch im Deutschen

    War die germanische Ursprache noch artikellos, so wird der Gebrauch des Artikels im Laufe der hochdeutschen Sprachentwicklung im Regelfall bei Gattungsnamen („Die Frau schläft; ein Mädchen weint“) verbindlich. Anders bei Personennamen und gewissen Prädikativa:

    „Hans ist Bäcker.“
    „Petra ist Schweizerin.“

    Ferner lassen bestimmte Fügungen keinen Artikel zu: „Ich fahre Auto“ (aber: „Er fährt einen Mercedes“ und auch „Ich fahre das Auto auf den Hof.“).

    Gebrauch des proprialen Artikels

    Personennamen werden laut Lehrbuch nur dann mit Artikel gebraucht, wenn vor dem Namen ein Adjektiv steht: der hübsche Hans, die kluge Petra. Im oberdeutschen Sprachraum ist es jedoch üblich, Namen (außer in der Anrede), mit dem bestimmten Artikel zu verwenden. Ingerid Dal führt das darauf zurück, dass Artikel über Familiennamen eindrangen, die eigentlich Appellativa waren, wie mittelhochdeutsch der strickære („Seiler“).

    Ortsnamen werden bis auf wenige Ausnahmen immer ohne Artikel benutzt, vor allem jene mit neutralem Genus. Maskuline und feminine Länder- und Regionalnamen werden dagegen stets mit proprialem Artikel gebraucht, z. B.: die Slowakei, die Waadt, der Libanon, der Ruhrpott. Regionalsprachlich gilt dies auch für gewisse neutrale Regionalnamen, etwa schweizerhochdeutsch das Burgund, das Piemont, das Friaul, das Tirol, das Vorarlberg, und für zahlreiche schweizerische Land- und Talschaften wie das Bergell, das Gaster, das Tessin, das Wallis.[11]

    Fluss- und Bergnamen führen im Deutschen stets einen proprialen Artikel, z. B.: die Elbe, der Amazonas, die Schneekoppe, der Mount Everest.


    Artikellosigkeit lässt sich weiter in einer großen Zahl von Sprichwörtern und formelhaften Verbindungen finden: „Haus und Hof“; „Mann und Maus“. Auch Abstrakta und Stoffbezeichnungen können als Subjekt ohne Artikel gebraucht werden, ohne dass sich die Bedeutung verändert: „(Die) Schönheit vergeht“; „(Das) Geld regiert die Welt“. Hier handelt es sich um Relikte des älteren artikellosen Gebrauchs. In diesen Zusammenhang fallen auch Dichtungen, die stilistisch überlieferte Volkslieder nachbilden sollten: „Knabe sprach – Röslein wehrte sich.“

    Alternativ können an Stelle des Artikels andere Determinative gebraucht werden wie beispielsweise kein/dieser/jener/mancher/jeder/mein usw. Vollständige Artikellosigkeit unterliegt im Neuhochdeutschen Bedingungen wie den genannten.


    • Willy Birkenmaier: Artikelfunktionen in einer Artikellosen Sprache. Studien zur nominalen Determination im Russischen. In: Forum Slavicum. Band34 . München 1979 (über die Wiedergabe des deutschen Artikels im Russischen).
    • Hansjörg Bisle-Müller: Artikelwörter im Deutschen. Semantische und pragmatische Aspekte ihrer Verwendung. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1991, ISBN 3-484-30267-4 (über den Artikelgebrauch innerhalb einer pragmatischen Theorie der Koordination gemeinsamen Wissens).
    • Karl BühlerSprachtheorie: die Darstellungsfunktion der Sprache. 3. Auflage. Fischer, Jena 1934, § 20. Die Funktionen des Artikels.
    • Karl Bühler: Sprachtheorie: die Darstellungsfunktion der Sprache (= UTB. Band1159 ). Nachdruck der 3. Auflage. Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart 1999, § 20. Die Funktionen des Artikels, S.303–315 .
    • Wolfgang Gladrow: Die Determination des Substantivs im Russischen und Deutschen. Eine konfrontative Studie. Leipzig 1979 (über die Wiedergabe des deutschen Artikels im Russischen).
    • Elvira GlaserSyntaktische Raumbilder. In: Franz Patocka, Peter Ernst (Hrsg.): Dialektgeographie der Zukunft. Akten des 2. Kongresses der Internationalen Gesellschaft für Dialektologie des Deutschen (IGDD). Stuttgart 2008, S.85–111 (zur Verbreitung des proprialen Artikels in Europa).
    • Hans-Jürgen Grimm, Gertraud Heinrich: Der Artikel. VEB Enzyklopädie, Leipzig 1976 (gründliche Darstellung für den Fremdsprachenunterricht ohne großen theoretischen Anspruch).
    • Hans-Jürgen Grimm: Lexikon zum Artikelgebrauch. 1987.
    • Hans-Jürgen Grimm: Untersuchung zum Artikelgebrauch im Deutschen. VEB Enzyklopädie, Leipzig 1986 (Wissenschaftlich anspruchsvoller als Grimm/Heinrich [1976], bezieht auch deutsch-russische und deutsch-tschechische Vergleiche ein).
    • Gerhard Helbig, Joachim Buscha: Deutsche Grammatik. Ein Handbuch für den Ausländerunterricht. VEB Verlag Enzyklopädie, Leipzig 1979, OCLC 760569507.
    • Nikolaus P. HimmelmannDeiktikon, Artikel, Nominalphrase. Zur Emergenz syntaktischer Struktur (= Linguistische Arbeiten. Band362 ). Niemeyer, Tübingen 1997, ISBN 3-484-30362-Xurn:nbn:de:101:1-201607043933 (Zugl.: Köln, Univ., Habil.-Schr., 1994).
    • Gottfried Kolde: Der Artikel in deutschen Sachverhaltsnominalen. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1989, ISBN 3-484-31096-0 (sehr gründliche und wissenschaftlich breit fundierte Darstellung des Artikelgebrauchs bei Sachverhaltsbeschreibungen).
    • Ekkehard KönigDefinite articles and their uses. In: Aspects of linguistic variation, ed. by Daniel Van Olmen & Tanja Mortelmans. 2018, S.165–184 doi:10.1515/9783110607963-006.
    • Elisabeth LeissArtikel und Aspekt. Die grammatischen Muster von Definitheit (= Studia linguistica Germanica. Band55 ). de Gruyter, Berlin/New York 2000, ISBN 3-11-016718-2urn:nbn:de:101:1-201606205552.
    • Tsugio Sekiguchi冠詞 意味形態的背景より見たるドイツ語冠詞の研究 (Kanshi: Imi keitaiteki haikei yori mitaru doitsugo kanshi no kenkyū). 8. Auflage. 1–3, 三修社(Sansyusya), Tokio 1983, ISBN 4-384-00751-5 (Dreibändiges Werk [zusammen 2304 Seiten] in japanischer Sprache zu Bedeutung und Gebrauch des Artikels im Deutschen).
    • Heinz VaterDas System der Artikelformen im gegenwärtigen Deutsch. 2., verbesserte Auflage. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1979, ISBN 3-484-10359-0 (ein Klassiker, strukturalistische Methode).
    • Heinz Vater (Hrsg.): Zur Syntax der Determinantien. Narr, Tübingen 1979, ISBN 3-86057-421-3 (die Aufsätze behandeln die Artikel im Zusammenhang mit anderen Determinantien wie ‚jeder‘, ‚dieser‘, ‚alle‘ ‚einige‘ etc., Methode: Generative Grammatik).
    • Johan van der Auwera (Hrsg.): The Semantics of Determiners. 1980.


    Wiktionary: Articles – explanations of meaning, word origin, synonyms, translations
    Wiktionary: Article word – explanations of meaning, word origin, synonyms, translations


    1. Source: Metzler, Bisle-Müller, Helbig.
    2. Further information/Explanation of the zero article. In: Canoonet, accessed 23 September 2019.
    3. Illustrative explanation of the zero article. In:, accessed 11 March 2023.
    4. Friedrich KlugeAlfred GötzeEtymological Dictionary of the German Language. 20th edition. Ed. by Walther Mitzka. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1967; Reprint ("21st unchanged edition") ibid. 1975, ISBN 3-11-005709-3, p. 157 f. (keyword "a").
    5. Wilhelm Pape, Max Sengebusch (ed.): Handwörterbuch der griechische Sprache. 3rd edition, 6th reprint. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig 1914, DNB 36701226X, p.563 , Sp.b (Ancient Greek, german, [PNG; accessed 16 October 2018]).
    6. For the occurrence in German-speaking Switzerland, see Schweizerisches Idiotikon, Volume XIII, column 1154 ff. (Article dër II, Bed. A3b); Language Atlas of German-speaking Switzerland, Volume III, Map 141 and Syntactic Atlas of German-speaking Switzerland, ed. by Elvira Glaser, Francke, Tübingen 2021, Volume 2, pp. 35–45.
    7. Changing dialect - Are our first names losing that certain something? In: Swiss Television. 27 May 2022, retrieved 29 May 2022.
    8. John B. Haviland, The grammaticalization of motion (and time) in Tzotzil, Nijmegen (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics), 1991
    9. See Gladrow and Birkenmaier in the bibliography.
    10. Cf. Glaser 2008 in the bibliography.
    11. Kurt MeyerSwiss Dictionary. That's what we say in Switzerland. Huber, Frauenfeld/Stuttgart/Vienna 2006, p. 38; Hans BickelChristoph LandoltSwiss High German. Dictionary of the standard language in German-speaking Switzerland. Published by the Swiss Association for the German Language. 2nd, full. Überarb. and expand. Edition. Dudenverlag, Berlin 2018, p. 105.