On Wed, May 27, 2009 at 7:09 AM, Dirk Elzinga <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > So "Russian, Japanese, and quite a lot of other languages" have no way to > signal the distinction between definite and indefinite? I find that hard to > believe. McWhorter refers simply to "fundamental features" of language; not > fundamental morphological categories, which is how many in this thread seem > to be reading it. A language may not have articles (the usual marker for > definiteness) but that doesn't mean that definiteness is not marked. I can't think of any way to mark definiteness in Japanese. Granted, I'm not fluent, but still. The closest it seems to come is topicalization, which he treats separately.