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Are they? Who says? It's perfectly possible to live without articles - ask any Russian.

My grammar book says that "articles usually function as adjectives". It doesn't specifically say they are adjectives. What part of speech do you consider them to be?

It seems to have been determined that they are determiners.

David
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Here's how it begins (it's in Latin, naturally; all writing, reading and education in Europe was in Latin for about the first 1500 years of the Common Era):...

Thanks for an interesting response! However...
Should that "all" be "most" or should it be "a lot of"? I'm sure considerable reading, writing, and education went on in Europe in Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew. Maybe in other languages that I don't know much about Old Church Slavonic, Irish, Welsh?
And of course, some reading and writing went on in many languages, including Anglo-Saxon. It included some of the world's great works of literature.
I'm assuming that by "education" you mean something like liberal-arts education. People must have taught others how to build houses, or what kinds of snails were good to eat, in every language then spoken in Europe.

Jerry Friedman
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Here's how it begins (it's in Latin, naturally; all writing, ... for about the first 1500 years of the Common Era):

... Thanks for an interesting response! However... Should that "all" be "most" or should it be "a lot of"? I'm sure considerable reading, writing, and education went on in Europe in Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew.

It certainly did. In my unarguably European now-hometown, that "all" wouldn't even pass muster as "most" or "a lot of " it'd have to be "hardly any".

Ross Howard
In particular, articles belong to the category of Determiner, which ... beginning of the English noun phrase, before all the adjectives.

"Ten"? Cardinal numbers seem more like adjectives than like determiners to me. "The ten commandments", "these ten items", and so on.

The reason I think of them (with the possible exception of 'one') as determiners, is because I include all words that affect adjective declensions in German. There are a few determiners that change class when in the presence of other determiners: 'all men' - 'all the men'.

Rob Bannister
In particular, articles belong to the category of Determiner, which ... beginning of the English noun phrase, before all the adjectives.

"Ten"? Cardinal numbers seem more like adjectives than like determiners to me. "The ten commandments", "these ten items", and so on.

Numbers are quantifiers.
In fact, the prototype of quantifiers.
They can combine with other determiners, as you noted, but not with adjectives:
*the brick ten houses
*long white seventeen dresses
(note 'seventeen' is not capitalized :-)
They occur in the Determiner Phrase at the beginning of the Noun Phrase (no, I don't use Abney's formulation DP is part of NP, not a substitute for it), along with other quantifiers, articles, possessives, demonstratives, etc.

( (only a few of those eighteen) long white stylish designer dresses) NP DP DP NP

The DP has a very complex and idiosyncratic syntax how else, when it's composed exclusively of members of closed (though not finite) classes?
-John Lawler http://www.umich.edu/~jlawler U Michigan Linguistics Dept "A sentence uttered makes a world appear
Where all things happen as it says they do;
We doubt the speaker, not the tongue we hear: W.H. Auden, Words have no words for words that are not true." Notes on the Comic
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...
} Numbers are quantifiers.
} In fact, the prototype of quantifiers.
} They can combine with other determiners, as you noted, } but not with adjectives:
}
} *the brick ten houses
} *long white seventeen dresses
} (note 'seventeen' is not capitalized :-)
...
Spoken by a grammarian who hasn't gone wedding shopping with a miss of impressive size.

R. J. Valentine
My grammar book says that "articles usually function as adjectives". ... What part of speech do you consider them to be?

Determiners (a word class that includes certain pronouns, too). Next!

Just how many parts of speech isn't my book telling me about?! Maybe I should upgrade.
Just how many parts of speech isn't my book telling me about?! Maybe I should upgrade.

In English, modals ("do/does", "did", "can", "could", "will", "would", "shall", "should", "may", "might", "must") are really a separate category from verbs. Your book probably doesn't say that, though.

There are, however, words whose status is borderline between modals and verbs: "dare" and "ought" are examples.
-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
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Thus spake Adam Entous:
Just how many parts of speech isn't my book telling me about?! Maybe I should upgrade.

Yeah, and we don't call them "parts of speech" any longer, they're "word classes".
All this nonsense is simply the linguists creating a market for their wares. It's like the fashion business with its new seasons.
Simon R. Hughes
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