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Articles

An article is a kind of adjective, such as the and a, that indicates whether the thing being discussed is something specific, nonspecific, or unique.

In Romániço, there are three kinds of article — zero, indefinite, and definite:


The Zero Article

The absence of an article is called the zero article. Before a singular noun, it indicates that the person or thing under discussion is unique or otherwise uncountable, typically abstractions (e.g., punditry, truthiness), institutions (e.g. church, and, in some countries, hospital), substances (e.g., water, wood), words or phrases functioning as adverbs (e.g. hand in hand), and proper nouns (e.g., Albert Einstein, Los Alamos).

cacio je snarco snark-hunting
Felicitio es on calda focilo. Happiness is a warm gun.
uranio uranium
judó judo
Danubio The Danube
Mercuridio Wednesday
facio an facio et dorso an dorso face-to-face and back-to-back

Using the zero article before a countable noun makes it uncountable:

Here véspere nos mangin pulo et bibin biro. Yesterday evening we ate chicken and drank beer.
(chicken and beer are both uncountable substances here)
Lo odoran cuale fémino. It smells like girl.
Custer esecin vincita da on fola cabalo. Custer was defeated by a crazy horse.
Custer esecin vincita da Fola Cabalo. Custer was defeated by Crazy Horse.
Nos pones pedo en stapio et parties. Let’s put foot to stirrup and be off.

The absence of an article before a plural (and therefore countable) noun in Romániço can either constitute a generic article, or simply be an elided indefinite article:

Fatos vestejan botos. Fairies wear boots.
(fairies as a class)
Mi vidan (on) mortintos. I see (some) dead people.

The Indefinite Articles

The indefinite article indicates that the person or thing being introduced is a nonspecific member of a class of similar people or things.

In most cases, English uses a(n) to introduce a single, countable noun, and some or nothing to introduce plural nouns. Romániço follows the same pattern, but uses on for both a(n) and some:

on cacio je snarco a snark hunt
On politichisca discuso an nostra ménsulo! Mi sentan mi cuale on Kennedy! A political discussion at our table! I feel like a Kennedy!
(a non-specific member of the Kennedy family)
Here véspere nos mangin on pulo et bibin on biro. Yesterday evening we ate a chicken and drank a beer.
(a single, whole chicken and a single unit of beer)
Here véspere nos mangin (on) pulos et bibin (on) biros. Yesterday evening we ate (some) chickens and drank (some) beers.
(multiple, whole chickens and multiple units of beer)
Nos haban omno hic de on bagatelo usche on mi-ne-sapan-cuo. We got everything here from a diddle-eyed-Joe to a damned-if-I-know.

However, to underscore that the speaker is unfamiliar with the person or thing being introduced, Romániço uses álica (“some”):

Álica cherlo colisionin cum mea parafango, et mi dicin ad li ‘Eses fructosa, et multeces’. Mas ne per ecuila vocábulos. Some guy hit my fender, and I told him ‘be fruitful, and multiply.’ But not in those words.

Alternatively, one can use cuida (“a certain”) to indicate that the person or thing being introduced, while specific, is not explicitly named or stated, or that it is unknown to the listener or reader:

Se cuida personos plu vécula et sapia ne comportebin cuale infantetos et ne esecebin tale sentimentema, omno eseban bona. If certain older, wiser people hadn’t acted like such little babies and gotten so mushy, then everything would be OK.
Dunche vi comprensun che cuo mi dicin ad vi es vera ... de cuida vid-punto. So you see, what I’ve told you is true ... from a certain point of view.

The Definite Article

The definite article indicates that a person or thing has already been mentioned, is common knowledge, is about to be defined, or is otherwise a specific member of a class of similar people or things. In English, the definite article is the. In Romániço, it’s most often la:

la cacio je snarco the snark hunt
Nos biban la sánguino, nos manjan la córporo. Saluto, Satan! We drink the blood, we eat the body. Hail Satan!
(the blood and body of Christ)
Escue vi sapan la vialo ad San-Jose? Do you know the way to San Jose?
(the best way)
Mi es la hómino en la capso. I’m the man in the box.
(the man being punished in the hot box)
Acompanies la cápit-rasitos por bolingher. Take the skinheads bowling.
(the ones on my lawn)
Cárolus la Calva Charles the Bald
(as opposed to Charles the Great or Charles the Fat)

As in English, the definite article can sometimes be used to indicate a single, countable noun in general, though this is properly and unambiguously done with il, Romániço’s other definite article:

Li es il servisto cua prendan pecunio. It’s the servant (as a class) who takes money.
Il humano es en perículo di extintiono. Man is an endangered species.

When followed by an adjective, la can be used alone as a stand-in for a person or thing. To emphasize that multiple persons or things are being implied, one can either convert the adjectives to plural nouns or use las:

La vua es la intelecto súpera! Yours is the superior intellect!
Mea matro dicin che mi selectes la maxim bona, et vi ne es li. My mother told me to pick the very best one and you are not it.
Mea matro dicin che mi selectes las maxim bona (aut la maxim bonos), et vos ne es los. My mother told me to pick the very best ones and you are not they.
On insípida discurso an nostra ménsulo! Mi sentan mi cuale las Kardashian! A vapid discussion at our table! I feel like the Kardashians!

Note that other Romance languages use the definite article when the thing introduced denotes a kinship relation, body part, article of clothing, or other object intimately associated with the speaker, but Romániço does not:

Cesationes tocher mea filiiso. Stop touching my daughter.
Cesationes tocher mea genúculo. Stop touching my knee.
Cesationes tocher mea capelo. Stop touching my hat.
Cesationes tocher mea iPod. Stop touching my iPod.