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(1) In some modern languages, a class of words including articles and certain pronomial adjectives (demonstratives and possessives). Determinatives are necessary markers with the noun; they express the meanings of the grammatical category of definiteness. Determinatives exist in a number of Western European languages (all Romance and Germanic languages, Greek, and Hungarian).
(2) In the comparative grammar of Indo-European languages, the term designating the elements of the suffixal type, which are closely bound to the root and whose precise meaning is usually not clear.
(3) In the history of written language, the graphic markers of a group of concepts, to which the word equipped with the determinative belongs. Determinatives are used in individual writing systems (the hieroglyphic written language of Egypt, the Hittite hieroglyphics, and Sumerian and Hittite cuneiform). In the Chinese hieroglyphic written language, the determinative is an element of hieroglyph (which is common to a number of hieroglyphs); it can also function as an independent hieroglyph.