LINGUIST List 3.973

Thu 10 Dec 1992

Disc: Articles (last posting)

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Michael Newman, article +name
  2. Bill Bennett, Articles with proper nouns
  3. , articles in place names

Message 1: article +name

Date: Sun, 06 Dec 92 19:22:42 ESarticle +name
From: Michael Newman <MNEHCCUNYVM.bitnet>
Subject: article +name

I would like to confirm and add to Scott Schwenter's observation regarding
the use of the article with names in Spanish and Catalan. The use of the
article with names is not just limited to the Spanish spoken in Alicante--which
is at the extreme southern end of the Catalan speaking area--but extends up
till Girona in the extreme north. Thus in Barcelona, or anywhere else in
the area where Catalan overlaps with Spanish (I'm not sure about the Balerics
however) you are NOT likely to hear (except under normative pressure):
 Ha llegado Laura. (Laura's arrived)

or when calling on the phone

Esta Pablo? (Is Pablo there?)

Instead you will almost always hear

Ha llegado la Laura. or Esta el Pablo?

Now the interesting thing is that in normative Catalan, and in the Catalan
spoken in the area of Girona, the article used with male names
that do not begin with a vowel is not usual masculine article EL but another
special names-only word EN. This "article" is not cognate with EL, but with
the Spanish honorific DON. In fact, according to some analyses, it is also an
an honorific. However, in the Barcelona area,you do not hear EN used as much
as EL in spite of the fact that this usage is criticized. The 'article/honor-
ific' used with consonant-inicial female names is always LA: (e.g. La Laura,
La Montse) and the word used with all vowel inicial names is L' (e.g. L'ANNA,
Michael Newman
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Message 2: Articles with proper nouns

Date: Mon, 07 Dec 92 18:18:41 GMArticles with proper nouns
From: Bill Bennett <>
Subject: Articles with proper nouns

I apologise if the following has been pointed out already. The French article
with proper name (e.g. le Michel) is most readily translated into English
 as "old" (e.g. "old Michael") meaning 'familiar' and not 'aged'.
Bill Bennett
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Message 3: articles in place names

Date: 07 Dec 1992 17:34:06 -0600articles in place names
From: <>
Subject: articles in place names

A colleague pointed out to me that in Spain it is quite common now to
*omit* the article with "Estados Unidos." In _El Pais_ for November 6
for example I find:

 Estados Unidos anuncio ayer...negociaciones entre
 Estados Unidos y la Comunidad
 representante de EE UU en las conversaciones...

We haven't noticed this tendency in Latin America; has anyone? Nor
have we noticed it in other languages which have had the article here.
 -- | Graecis ac barbaris, sapientibus, et
opinions are my own | insipientibus debitor sum
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