Definiteness and Indefiniteness of Nouns in English and Albanian: A Contrastive Analysis

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Abstract

Different languages have different ways of indicating the definiteness and indefiniteness of nouns. In English, as in most languages, the category of definiteness and indefiniteness is not a grammatical category of nouns. It is rather a semantic category that is mainly conveyed by means of two articles: the definite article the and the indefinite article a/an. In Albanian, on the other hand, the category of definiteness and indefiniteness is a grammatical category realised mainly by case endings and the indefinite article një (a/an) which, along with the case endings, is used to indicate only the indefiniteness, as the definiteness relies exclusively on case endings. The main purpose of this paper was to indicate that, in spite of the difference in the ways they express the definiteness and indefiniteness which account for some of their functional differences, definite and indefinite nouns in English and Albanian also show some similarities. The contrastive analysis indicates that the definite nouns in English and Albanian share their main functions, namely the specific reference and the generic reference, although they do not certainly share the cataphoric reference, whereas the indefinite nouns share the descriptive, classifying, and categorising function as well as the numerical function, but they do not share the generic function.

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