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This page pertains to UD version 2.

Definite: definiteness or state

Values: Com Cons Def Ind Spec

Definiteness is typically a feature of nouns, adjectives and articles. Its value distinguishes whether we are talking about something known and concrete, or something general or unknown. It can be marked on definite and indefinite articles, or directly on nouns, adjectives etc. In Arabic, definiteness is also called the “state”.

Ind: indefinite

In languages where Spec is distinguished the value Ind is interpreted as non-specific indefinite, i.e. “any (one) stick”.


Spec: specific indefinite

Specific indefinite, e.g. “a certain stick”. Occurs e.g. in Lakota. In languages where it is used the value Ind is interpreted as non-specific indefinite, i.e. “any (one) stick”.


Def: definite


Cons: construct state / reduced definiteness

Used in construct state in Arabic. If two nouns are in genitive relation, the first one (the “nomen regens”) has “reduced definiteness,” the second is the genitive and can be either definite or indefinite. Reduced form has neither the definite morpheme (article), nor the indefinite morpheme (nunation).

Note that in UD v1 this value was called Red. It has been renamed Cons in UD v2.


Com: complex

Used in improper annexation in Arabic. The genitive construction described above normally consists of two nouns (first reduced, second genitive). That is called proper annexation or iḍāfa. If the first member is an adjective or adjectivally used participle and the second member is a definite noun, the construction is called improper annexation or false iḍāfa. The result is a compound adjective that is usually used as an attributive adjunct and thus must agree in definiteness with the noun it modifies. Its first part (the adjective or participle) may get again the definite article. Although it may look the same as the form for the definite state, it is assigned a special value of complex state to reflect the different origin. See also Hajič et al. page 3.


Definite in other languages: [bej] [bg] [el] [en] [es] [fr] [ga] [hu] [hy] [it] [ky] [myv] [pcm] [pt] [qpm] [sga] [sl] [sv] [tr] [u] [urj]