The present Spanish article el is the product of a series of gradual transformations that took place from Latin: disappearance of the system of declensions, use of prepositions, a more fixed order of words and, especially, the loss of the deictic value of the demonstratives ille and ipse. Therefore, we deduce that the appearance of the article shows a clear tendency to substitute the morphology by the syntax. The definite article has no lexical meaning, even though it derives from the latin demonstratives. On passing to Spanish, the article has lost the deictic meaning and has only kept the grammatical values. It points out without showing distance as regards the first and second person, in opposition to the demonstratives, although it has got the capacity of assigning the noun that precedes different values - individuation, classification, generalization, etc. Un followed a slower evolutive process than el and completed together with the absence of article what is today the paradigm of the article. It adds to the article new semantic values of indetermination, numeracy, attribution, emphasis, approximation with the plural, etc.
origin of articles, deictic value, demonstratives, determinative value, referential value, identificational value
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