N2 03_Numeral Noun (definite)

The property Numeral Noun (definite) is “yes” if at least one numeral can precede the noun and the noun phrase is a definite noun phrase.

To test if a noun phrase is definite, the following contexts can be used:

1. Context: Aba sent us four packages last week ("four packages" is new information)


The four packages arrived yesterday

If "the four packages" refers to the four packages Aba sent, it is a definite noun phrase.

2. Context: You are walking with a friend past a building with three murals (and two posters) on it. You ask your friend:

What do you think about the three murals?
(Wang and McCready 2005)

In this context, "the three murals" is a definite noun phrase.

General Note on Word Order Properties:
A "yes" value for the property Numeral Noun (definite) does not exclude a "yes" value for the Noun Numeral (definite) order.

This property is NA if the language has no Numerals or if Numerals can never be part of the Noun Phrase.


English is ‘yes’ for this property.

The four letters finally got here yesterday

Czech is ‘yes’ for this property:

Ty čtyry dopisy došly včera.
The.nom.pl four.nom letters.nom.pl come.in.past yesterday
The four letters arrived yesterday
(example provided by Pavel Caha)

Shupamem is ‘no’ for this property as this order is infelicitous in this context.

a. # wù ngúpmà mì: pεʔ pón pô: nâ:ʔ
2SG think COMP two child.PL INT.be WH?

b. wù ngúpmà mì: pón pí pà pô: nâ:ʔ
2SG think COMP child.PL AGR two INT.be WH?
'What do you think about the two children?
(lit: You think the two children are how)
(Vázquez-Rojas (2011, ex 19)

References: Wang and McCready (2005) The Indefiniteness Effect. Snippets 11, p. 11-12
Contributed by: Hilda Koopman
Language Value Contributor Comments
   =Hoan No Chris Collins
   Acehnese Yes Julie Legate
+ Afrikaans Yes Theresa Biberauer
  Words: daardie vier visarende
  Gloss: there.the four fish.eagles
  Translation: those four fish-eagles
  Contributor: Theresa Biberauer
   Agni indénié No Amoikon Dyhié ASSANVO Le numéral se suffixe au nom
+ Albanian Yes Dalina Kallulli
  Words: (Të) Tre pakot arritën dje.
  Gloss: (the) three parcels.the arrived yesterday
  Translation: (All) the three parcels arrived yesterday
  Comment:  të preceding the numeral denotes totality and can be rendered in English either as ‘the’ or as ‘all’
  Contributor: Dalina Kallulli
   American Sign Language Yes Natasha Abner
+ Amharic Yes Girma Demeke
  Words: hulät-u mäs'haf-očč
  Gloss: two-def book-pl
  Translation: 'the two books'
  Contributor: Girma Demeke
+ Ancient Greek Yes Richard Faure
  Words: ékei tà tría eídē taûta
  Gloss: have-PRS.3SG ART-ACC.N.PL 3 form-ACC.PL DEM-ACC.N.PL
  Translation: The soul contains these three forms
  Comment: Plato, Respublica, 435c5
  Contributor: Richard Faure
   Arabic, Gulf No Dimitrios Ntelitheos
   Armenian (Eastern) Yes Sona Haroutyunian
   Babanki No Pius Akumbu
   Bafut No Pius Tamanji
   Bambara No Hilda Koopman
   Bandial No Wolfgang Berndt
   Bardi Yes Claire Bowern
   Basaa Yes Paul Roger Bassong
   baule-kôdeh No Andréa ALLA
   Beng No Denis Paperno
   Bengali No Priyanka Biswas
   Bole No Alhaji Gimba
   Brazilian Portuguese Yes Bruna Moreira
   Burmese No Timothy Ho
+ Calabrian (Northern) Yes Giuseppina Silvestri
  Words: Hajə vistə si tre gattə
  Gloss: Have.1sg seen these three cats
  Translation: I have seen these three cats
  Contributor: Giuseppina Silvestri
+ Cantonese (Guangzhou) Yes Zixian Qiu
  Words: go sei fung seon camyat dou-zo
  Gloss: that four CLF letter yesterday arrive-PFV
  Translation: Those four letters arrived yesterday.
  Contributor: Zixian Qiu
   Catalan Yes Victoria Mateu
   Chickasaw No Pam Munro
+ Cypriot Greek Yes Marios Andreou
  Words: Ta tessera grammata irtasin extes.
  Gloss: the four letters arrived yesterday
  Translation: The four letters arrived yesterday.
  Contributor: Marios Andreou
+ Czech Yes Pavel Caha
  Words: Ty čtyry dopisy došly včera
  Gloss: The.nom.pl four.nom letters.nom.pl come-in.past yesterday
  Translation: The four letters arrived yesterday
  Comment: Context: Aba sent us four letters last week and two packages. (Example to be transferred to Pavel Caha)
  Contributor: Hilda Koopman
  Words: A co ty dva balíky?
  Gloss: And what the.nom.pl two.nom packages.nom.pl?
  Translation: and what about the two packages
  Comment: follow up on previous context. [example to be transferred to Pavel Caha)
  Contributor: Hilda Koopman
   Dagaare No Adams Bodomo
   Danish Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Dholuo No Hilda Koopman
   Dida Lakota (diéko) No Gohon Fabienne Stéphanie Attéby
   Digo No Steve Nicolle
   Digor Ossetic Yes David Erschler
+ Dutch Yes Hilda Koopman
  Words: we hebben de vier brieven gisteren ontvangen
  Gloss: we have the four letters yesterday received
  Translation: we got the four letters yesterday
  Contributor: Hilda Koopman
   Eastern Armenian Yes Karine Megerdoomian
   English Yes Katie Redderson-Lear
   English (Singapore) Yes Adam Chong
   Ewe No Chris Collins
   Faroese Yes Hjalmar Páll Petersen
+ Finnish Yes Anders Holmberg
  Words: ne kolme taloa
  Gloss: the/those three house-PART
  Translation: the three houses
  Comment: Some specification is required for a definite reading, such as the demonstrative ne (neutral between distal/proximate and used 'almost like a definite article').
  Contributor: Anders Holmberg
+ French Yes Vincent Homer
  Words: Les deux lampes sont sur le bureau.
  Gloss: DEF-DET.PL two lamp.PL be.PRS LOC DEF-DET.M desk
  Translation: The two lamps are on the desk.
  Contributor: Hannah Kim
   Frisian (West Frisian) Yes Jarich Hoekstra
   Ga No Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu
   galician Yes Naír García
   Garifuna Yes Pam Munro
   georgian Yes Lea Nash
   German Yes Viola Schmitt
   Ghɔmáĺá' No Francine Moguo
+ Gothic Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
  Words:  þans fimf hlaibans
  Gloss: the(se).DEM.ACC.PL five bread.AC.PL
  Translation: The(se) five breads
  Comment: Luke 9:16
  Contributor: Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
  Contributor: Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Greek Yes Arhonto Terzi
  Words: Ta tria demata eftasan xtes
  Gloss: the three parcels arrived yesterday
  Translation: The three parcels arrived yesterday
  Contributor: Arhonto Terzi
   Greek (Calabria) Yes Cristina Guardiano
+ Greek (Cappadocian) Yes Petros Karatsareas
  Words: ton irtan ta seranda ta kleft (Dawkins 1916: 448)
  Gloss: when come.PST.3PL ART.DEF.PL.NOM forty ART.DEF.PL.NOM thief.PL.NOM
  Translation: when the forty thieves came
  Contributor: Petros Karatsareas
   Greek (Homer) Yes Cristina Guardiano
   Greek (Medieval) Yes Io Manolessou
   Greek (Pontic) Yes Cristina Guardiano and Dimitris Michelioudakis
   Guébie No Hannah Sande
   Gungbe (Porto-Novo) No Enoch Oladé Aboh
+ Haitian Yes Michel DeGraff
  Words: Kat pake yo rive yè
  Gloss: Four packages PL arrive yesterday
  Translation: The fours packages arrived yesterday
  Contributor: Michel DeGraff
  Words: Ki sa w panse de twa penti sa yo?
  Gloss: KI SA 2S think de three painitngs DEM PL
  Translation: what do you think about these three paintings
  Comment: Here the demonstrative is preferred
  Contributor: Michel DeGraff
+ Hakka Yes Iris Wu
  Words: lia ng pun shu to le
  Gloss: DEM five CLF book arrive PFV
  Translation: The five books arrived.
  Contributor: Iris Wu
   Hausa No Michael A. Estrada
+ Hebrew Yes Ur Shlonsky
  Words: arba'at ha xavilot higi'u etmol
  Gloss: four the packages arrived yesterday
  Translation: 'the 4 packages arrived yesterday'
  Contributor: Ur Shlonsky
   Hebrew (Biblical) Yes Massimo Gargiulo
   Hindi Yes Gurprit Bains
+ Hixkaryana yes Laura Kalin
  Words: asak kanawa w-eny-o
  Gloss: two canoe 1SBJ-see-IMMEDPAST
  Translation: I saw two canoes.
  Comment: (Derbyshire 1985:p. 26)
  Contributor: Laura Kalin
+ Hungarian Yes Anna Szabolcsi
  Words: a hat kalap
  Gloss: the six hat
  Translation: `the six hats'
  Contributor: Anna Szabolcsi
   Ibibio No Willie Willie
   Icelandic No Jim Wood
   Igbo Yes Gerald Nweya
   Iha No Mark Donohue
   imbabura quichua Yes UCLA Linguistics 210
   Indonesian Yes Mark Donohue
   Iron Ossetic Yes David Erschler
+ Italian Yes Cristina Guardiano
  Words: I quattro pacchi sono arrivati ieri
  Gloss: The four packages are arrived yesterday
  Translation: The four packages arrived yesterday
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
   Italian (Napoletano Antico) Yes Adam Ledgeway
   Italian (Reggiano) Yes Giovanni Roversi
   Japanese Yes Ken Hiraiwa
   K'iche' Yes Pam Munro
   Khasi Yes Gracious Temsen
   KiLega No Kasangati Kinyalolo
   Kinande No Patricia Schneider-Zioga and Philip Mutaka
   Kiyaka No Lukowa Kidima
   Kom No Richard Kwamong
   Korean Yes Shin-Sook Kim
   Kuot Yes Eva Lindström
   Kurdish (Sorani) Yes Yadgar Karimi
   Kusaal No Hasiyatu Abubakari
   Kusunda Yes Mark Donohue
   Laal No Florian Lionnet
   Lango No Arwa Rangwala
   Lao Yes Alif Silpachai
   Latin No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi It would require a demonstrative for definite
   Latin (Late) Yes Chiara Gianollo
   Lebanese Arabic Yes Lina Choueiri
   Lithuanian Yes Felix Thies
   Maasai (Kisongo) No Hilda Koopman
   Mada No Bebey Théodore
   Malagasy No Hilda Koopman
   Malayalam No Mythili Menon
+ Mandarin Yes Arthur Wang
  Words: na si feng xin zuotian dao-le
  Gloss: the four letter yesterday arrive-PFV
  Translation: The four letters arrived yesterday.
  Contributor: Zixian Qiu
+ Marshallese No Heather Willson Sturman
  Words: *Ruo kuuj ko r-ar cross iaļ eo.
  Gloss: two cat the.pl.nh 3pl-pst cross road the.sg
  Translation: The two cats crossed the road.
  Contributor: Heather Willson Sturman
   Miya No Michael A. Estrada
   Moroccan Arabic No Arwa Rangwala
   Muyang No Bebey Théodore
+ Nahuatl (Central Huasteca) Yes John Garcia
  Words: ome cahuayo-meh huahcapantik-eh
  Gloss: two horse-PL tall-PL
  Translation: ‘(the) two horses are tall’
  Comment: Context was given with the phrase "look at those two horses!” Language Consulant: Eduardo de la Cruz
  Contributor: John Garcia
   Nahuatl (Classical) Yes John Garcia
   Navajo Yes Hilda Koopman
   Nawdm No Hannah Kim
   nda'nda' Yes Christelle Niguieu Toukam
   Neapolitan Yes Giuseppe Samo
   Nepali Yes Mark Donohue
   Northern Thai No Alif Silpachai
   Norwegian Yes Marit Julien
   Nupe No Jason Kandybowicz
   Nweh No Hilda Koopman
   Okinawan Yes Ken Hiraiwa
   Old English Yes Willem Koopman
   Old French Yes Heather Burnett
+ Old Saxon Yes George Walkden
  Words: that sie the êno man sô alla uueldi uuerod faruuinnen
  Gloss: that them the one man so all would people win.INF
  Translation: that that one man would win all the people
  Comment: (Heliand 4175-4176)
  Contributor: George Walkden
   Oluwanga No Dimitrios Ntelitheos
   Oluwanga (Eji) No Ceciliane Odangah
   One Yes Mark Donohue
   panjabi Yes Gurprit Bains
   Papuan Malay Yes Mark Donohue
   Pashto Yes David Pate
   Pima Yes Marcus Smith
+ Polish Yes Barbara Tomaszewicz
  Words: Te cztery listy przyszły wczoraj.
  Gloss: these.nom.pl letters.nom.pl arrived yesterday
  Translation: The four letters arrived yesterday.
  Comment: Context: Aba sent us four letters last week and two packages.
  Contributor: Barbara Tomaszewicz
  Words: A co z tymi dwiema paczkami?
  Gloss: and what with those.ins two.ins packages.ins.pl
  Translation: And what about the two packages?
  Comment: Follow up on previous context
  Contributor: Barbara Tomaszewicz
+ Portuguese Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
  Words: As cinco cartas chegaram ontem
  Gloss: the.F.PL five letter.PL arrive.PRF.3PL yesterday
  Translation: The five letters arrived yesterday
  Contributor: Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Q'anjob'al Yes Kathleen O'Flynn
   Romanian Yes Monica Alexandrina Irimia
   Russian Yes Denis Paperno
   San Dionisio Ocotepec Zapotec Yes George Aaron Broadwell
   Sandawe No Helen Eaton
   Sasak Yes Nur Ahmadi and Eli Asikin-Garmager
   Scottish Gaelic Yes David Adger
   Senaya Yes Laura McPherson
   Shupamem No Abdoulaye Laziz Nchare
+ Sicilian Yes Cristina Guardiano
  Words: mi ligghìi i/ssi tri lìbbra
  Gloss: to.me I.read the/those three books
  Translation: I read the/those three books
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
  Words: i kwàttru lìttri arruvàrru ajèri
  Gloss: the four letters arrived yesterday
  Translation: the four letters arrived yesterday
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
   Skou No Mark Donohue
   Slovenian Yes Franc Marušič
   Spanish Yes Victoria Mateu
+ Swedish Yes fredrik heinat
  Words: De två kakorna är i burken.
  Gloss: the two cookies.DEF are in jar.DEF
  Translation: The two cookies are in the jar.
  Comment: For more on double definiteness, see "extra examples".
  Contributor: fredrik heinat
   Swiss German Yes Cecile Meier
+ Tagalog Yes Edith Aldridge
  Words: Na-kita=ko ang dalawa-ng bata.
  Gloss: PERF-see=1S.ERG ABS two-LK child
  Translation: I saw the two children.
  Contributor: Edith Aldridge
   Taiwanese Southern Min Yes Arthur Wang
+ Teramano Yes Iara Mantenuto
  Words: so maɲatə li tre pizzə
  Gloss: I.am eaten the three pizzas
  Translation: I ate three pizzas
  Contributor: Iara Mantenuto
  Words: li tre pizzə arrivitə
  Gloss: the three pizzas arrived
  Translation: the three pizzas arrived
  Contributor: Iara Mantenuto
   Thai No Peter Jenks
+ Tigre Yes Zhenyu Sun
  Words: lakəl'ot hu
  Gloss: the-two brothers
  Translation: 'the two brothers'
  Contributor: Zhenyu Sun
   Tocharian A Yes Bernhard Koller
   Tocharian B Yes Bernhard Koller
   Tommo-So No Laura McPherson
   Triqui, Copala Yes George Aaron Broadwell
   Tukang Besi No Mark Donohue
   Tuki (Tukombo) No Edmond Biloa
   Tupi (Ancient) Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Turkish Yes Murat Kural
   Tuvan Yes Mark Donohue
   Twi No Cansada Martin
   Ukrainian Yes Roksolana Mykhaylyk
   Vata No Hilda Koopman
+ Vietnamese Yes Binh Ngo
  Words: Hôm qua Lan mua hai cái bàn
  Gloss: yesterday Lan buy two CL table
  Translation: "Lan bought the two tables yesterday."
  Comment: The interpretation is derived from a context in which the speakers and the addressee both knew that Lan was interested in buying two particular tables.
  Contributor: Binh Ngo
   Vlaški-Žejanski-Istro-Romanian Yes Zvjezdana Vrzic
   Welsh Yes David Willis
   West Flemish Yes Liliane Haegeman
   Western Armenian Yes Hrayr Khanjian
   Wolof Yes Mariame Sy
   Wuhu Chinese Yes Zhuo Chen
   Xhosa No Xiujie Ma
   Yémba No Elsie Mawamba
   Yoruba No Johnson Folorunso Ilori
+ Zamboageño Chabacano Yes Grace Gaspardo
  Words: El dos bata ya anda apuera.
  Gloss: the two child PST go outside
  Translation: The two children went outside.
  Contributor: Grace Gaspardo
   Zulu No Claire Halpert