Semantic peculiarities of the English article and ways of its translation

A mere semantic observation of the articles in English, i.e. the definite article the and the indefinite article a/an, at

Semantic peculiarities of the English article and ways of its translation

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Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical Universityof English Philology











Semantic peculiarities of the English article and ways of its translation

PaperShama M.,of the Foreign Philology Faculty,5 E/CSupervisor:of Sciences (Philology),Professor of the Department of English Philology M.V.: Candidate of Sciences (Philology),Professor of the of English L.M.


Kharkiv - 2007




Part I. Article as a part of speech. Theoretical and practical aspect

1.1 Definition

.2 The historical development of articles

.3 Article determination

.4 The functions of articles

1.4.1 The use of the Indefinite article

1.4.2 The use of the Definite article

.4.3 Omission of the articleII. Lexico-grammatical aspects of translation of the definite and indefinite articles

2.1 The Category of Definiteness and Indefiniteness

.2 Rendering of the contextual meaning of the definite and indefinite articles

.2.1 Realization of the contextual meanings of the definite article

.2.2 Realization of the contextual meanings of the indefinite articleIII. Methods of teaching articles

3.1 Article in a school programme

.2 Teaching articles in the 5th form

.3 Teaching articles in the 6th form

.4 Translation exercises for the students of the foreign language departments




Though the article is the part of speech that contains only two words it presents a great difficulty for a student of English. A foreigner can always be told by his wrong use of article. Mistakes in the use of articles are considered to be the most difficult to be corrected. Numerous works devoted to this part of speech have certainly contributed to its better understanding but a great number of problems are still waiting for their further study and solutions [45, c.49]. One of these problems deals with the contextual use of articles and the ways they may be translated into other languages in general and into Russian and Ukrainian in particular[28, c.74; 39, 59].research is topical for a number of reasons. First, no matter how many studies have been made in this area the problems relevant to its translation havent been studied properly. Second, further development of linguistics and other areas relevant to this branch of science call for new approaches to the study of even most traditional aspects of modern grammar. In addition, the study of articles and their contextual meaning and ways they are translated into other languages is of great value of teaching methods [39, c.83].object of this research is English articles.subject of the research is a study of use of English articles in various contexts and its translation into Ukrainian.goal of our work is to make a systematic study of English articles, their contextual use and ways they are translated into Ukrainian.compliance with the goal the following objectives are to be solved:

1.To determine the place of the English articles in the system of the English language and to cover some theoretical questions concerned with the object of the research.

2.To study a typical use of articles and its special difficulties.

.To analyze contextual meanings of the English articles and ways of their translation into Ukrainian.

.To develop a set of exercises aimed at improving students skills in the use of the English articles.goal and the objectives of the research determine the structure of our work. consists of an introduction, 3 parts, conclusion and a list of literature.than 50 manuals, articles and other types of educational and research papers served as the material for our analyses. Besides, the use of articles in the works of W.S. Maugham, J. London and their translation served for our analyses in the practical part of the work.set of linguistic methods including a descriptive, analytical, contextual analysis was used in the course of our study. In addition a translational method was intensively used while analyzing the contextual peculiarities of the article and determining typical ways of their translation into Ukrainian.results obtained in the course of our research have been reported at a number of students conferences in the Kharkiv Pedagogical university and were widely used in the course of my teaching practice school N172.first part of the work deals with the general theoretical principles relevant to the English article and to the description of its traditional difficulties. Part II is devoted to the study of contextual semantic characteristics of English articles and the ways they are translated into Ukrainian. Teaching aspects of the article are discussed in part III. Here a set of exercises aimed at improving students skills in the use of the English articles is also offered.

Part I. Article as a part of speech. Theoretical and practical aspects


.1 Definition

issues relevant to the nature of the English article have been the focus of attention of early descriptive English Grammar books since the 16th century and it is intensively studied nowadays.the 16th -18th centuries the article was considered as a noun determiner. There was, however, a different point of view when the article was included into the adjective. Besides, there existed different approaches to English articles. According to G. Mironets, the article was considered as part of the Noun, as a separate part of speech and as a particle. The terms definite and indefinite were first used by J.Howell in 1662 [45, c.56].

Being aware of numerous points of view regarding the status of the article in the English language we share the view presented by B. Khaimovich and B. Rogovskaya who considered the article a separate part of speech. They consider that the two words a(an), the form a separate group or class characterized by:

a)the lexico-grammatical meaning of (in)definiteness,

b)the right-hand combinability with nouns,)the function of noun specifiers [52, c.214]lexical meaning of a(n) in Modern English is a very weak reminder of its original meaning (OE. an=one). In spite of the long process of weakening there remains enough of the original meaning in a(n) to exclude the possibility of its being attached to a plural noun.lexical meaning of the in Modern English is a pale shadow of its original demonstrative meaning.general lexico-grammatical meaning of these words, as usual, is not identical with their individual lexical meanings. It abstracts itself from the meaning of oneness in a(n) and the demonstrative meaning in the. Perhaps, the names of the articles (definite, indefinite) denote the nearest approach to this lexico-grammatical meaning, which, for lack of a better term, might be defined as that of definiteness-indefiniteness [52, c.215].article is a form word that serves as a noun determiner. It is one of the main means of conveying the idea of definiteness and indefiniteness.suggests that the object presented by the following noun is individualized and singled out from all the other objects of the same kind, whereas indefiniteness means a more general reference to an object [20, c.75].lexical meaning of the English articles is determined by its historical development. That is why after considering the historical development of the English articles their rendering into Ukrainian and Russian becomes obvious. Under the influence of the historical processes that took place both in phonetical and grammatical structure of the English language the article as a part of speech has undergone major changes. Its origin goes deep into the history of the English language both definite and indefinite articles. This explains the fact that when translating articles we get equivalents (in other languages) of various types. That is why we consider it necessary to present all stages of the historical formation of the English article.


.2 The historical development of the English articles. The definite article


The infinitive in Northumbrian often loses its final -n and ends in -a: drinca 'drink', sinza 'sing'. The 1st person singular present indicative ends in -u, -o (for West-Saxon -e): ic drincu 'I drink', ic sinzo 'I sing'. The 2nd person singular present indicative and the 2nd person singular past indicative of weak verbs often ends in -s (for West-Saxon -si): pu drinces 'thou drinkest', pu lufodes 'thou lo-vedst'. This means that the initial consonant of the pronoun 'pu did not join on to the verb forms. The 3rd person singular present indicative also, often ends in -s: he drinces 'he drinks'. The plural indicative present often takes the ending -as for West-Saxon -ap: hia drincas 'they drink'.cause of this spread of the -s-ending is not clear. It may have been partly influenced by the form is of the verb wsan.1st participle sometimes has the suffix -ande (for West-Saxon -ende). This is due to Scandinavian influence.plural present indicative of the verb wesan is arun (for West-Saxon sind).strong verbs become weak in Northumbrian. Thus class I verbs: stizan 'ascend' has stizede; zripan 'catch' zripede, hrinan 'touch' hrinade; class II verbs: reocan 'smell' has reohte, supan 'taste' supede; class III: bindan 'bind' has binde, drinzan 'insist' drinzde, swinzan an 'swing' swinzde, war pan 'throw' worpade, strxz-dan 'sow' strx^de, frejnan 'ask' fre^nade; class VI verbs: hebban 'lift' has hefde; class VII verbs: slsepan 'sleep' has slsepte, ondrsedan 'dread' ondnedde, sceadan 'divide' sccadade.these phenomena show that in Northumbrian a reduction of inflections was taking place in the ОС p

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