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Referential properties of the full and reduced forms of the definite article in German

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Abstract

In the following paper, we deal with the properties of the definite article in German. Starting from the existing literature on Present-day German, we show that, in combination with prepositions, two forms of the definite article may be used, namely a full one and a reduced one. They are used in contexts of anaphoric reference or in cases of semantic uniqueness, respectively. We then describe the phenomenon from a diachronic perspective, based on data from Old High German and Middle High German. Only a few, unsystematic studies are available on this topic. In particular, we investigate the properties of the two forms of the article from a semantic/pragmatic perspective, from a cognitive perspective, and finally in syntax

References

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