In a previous post I proposed the idea that the Diinlang words for “this” and “that” could be met with the Diinlang words for “here” and “there”, which are “vang” and “ving”. The plural forms of these words, vangz and vingz serve as “these” and “those”.
A similar economy can be gained by using the third person pronouns as the definite article. This also frees up “di” to mean “from” or “of”. “Ze” is the default form, with “zo” or “za” being used when gender needs to be stated or emphasized. The use of “ze” becomes “fuzzier”. Ze can be used for singular or plural. Ze can be used of animate or inanimate. Ze can be used where the gender is unknown or unstated.
Ze kanis bi vang. = The dog is here.
Ze bi vang. = It is here.
Zo bi vang. = He is here.
Zo kanis bi vang. = The (male) dog is here.
This idea meshes nicely with the idea of gendering words by using “zo-” or “za-” as prefixes, creating the equivalent of constructions such as “she-wolf” or “he-goat”. When a word is so prefixed a preceding definite article is unnecessary.
Some nouns in Diinlang already have a gender. This includes agent nouns that use “-zo” or “-za” or their plural forms as a suffix. In such cases the definite article and the noun gender should not contradict. You can use a neutral article (ze) with a gendered noun or a gendered article with a neutral noun. You cannot use a feminine article with a masculine noun or a masculine article with a feminine noun!
For certain sentences the second person pronoun may be used as a definite article. A likely context would be when addressing several people directly but attempting to signify one in particular. For example, in English a waiter might say “The gentleman will taste the wine?” In Diinlang the second person pronoun “tu” would be used as the definite article instead of “ze”, “zo” or “za”, creating a sentence that translates as “You gentleman will taste the wine?”
The definite article has earned a reprieve! It occurred to me that the above use of “ze” may make it difficult to identify nouns from verbs. The system of using articles to identify plurality remains in place however. The definite article will be “de” with “dez” as the plural form. The indefinite article is “je” or “jez”. When “zo-/ za-” or “zoz-/ zaz-” are used to indicate gender the definite article can be ommited.Sona uses the definite article to also serve as a word for “it”. “De” on its own could have the same use. By the same logic “je” on its own could have the meaning “something”.