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Lesson 6

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Articles are the small words that let us indicate or "point to" a specific noun. In many ways, D'ni articles are like the adjectives we discussed in the last chapter: they describe nouns, and they do not need to change in order to agree in number.

Definite and Indefinite

English has three articles: a, an, and the. The first two, a and an, are called indefinite articles because, even while they "point to" a noun and distinguish it from the abstract, they do not identify a definite instance of that noun. A rock could be this rock on the ground, or that rock on the mountain, or that rock in the cave. Since we're just talking about a rock in general, it could be any of these rocks in front of us, it is indefinite which rock we mean. The rock, however, doesn't leave the question "Which rock?" unanswered — I am referring to a single rock, one that can be identified, since it is "the" rock. For this reason, the is called a definite article; it refers to a definite thing, while an indefinite article could refer to any number of things.

Articles in D'ni

D'ni has only two articles, one definite —  re (reh | re) — and one indefinite —  erT (ehrth | erþ). What's unique about D'ni articles is that, like adjectives, they can be used for both singular and plural nouns without changing to agree. For example, we can say  repråD (rehprad | repræd) or  repråDtE (rehpradtee | reprædtí), the same way we can say the rock or the rocks in English. Similarly, we can say  erTpråD (erthprad | erþpræd) or  erTpråDtE (erthpradtee | erþprædtí) in D'ni; however, we can't use the same indefinite article a for both in English. We certainly can say a rock in the singular, but we cannot say a rocks. This is because there is no indefinite article in English for plural nouns; the closest equivalent expression in English would be some rocks.

Notice as well that an article is attached to the front of the noun it describes. Whether singular or plural, modified with an adjective or standing by itself, the article will always be a prefix.


erTcirtE (ehrthchihrtee | erþçirtí), some organisms
renavatE ram (rehnahvahtee rahm | renavatí ram), the good masters
erTzu ziT (ehrthzuh zihth | erþzu ziþ), a low end

Rarely, re is contracted into a shorter form, r' (r' | r'), most often when the first letter of the noun it modifies is a vowel, especially e. The ' lets us know that letters are missing and also helps clarify ambiguity. When we see r'erem (r'ehrehm | r'erem), we know that re has been contracted, and, especially since the first letter following the ' is e, that the noun is erem (ehrehm | erem). If the ' were absent — rerem — it would seem that re modifies the word rem, which is incorrect. This said, it pays to be cautious when reading D'ni texts, as sometimes the ' is left out of the contracted r', too, at which time we must rely on vocabulary and context to see us through.

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