I came across a previous question (Why does English have an indefinite article ?) about the origins of the English indefinite article which question was closed due to it being posed in an - ironically - indefinite manner, without a real focus to the question.
I have an ongoing interest from a conceptual point of view.
Daniel B Wallace in his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics states of the Greek article (there is only one in Greek) :
One of the greatest gifts bequeathed by the Greeks to Western civilization was the article. [p207.]
Daniel Wallace states of the article (that is to say, the idea of an article per se) that it identifies.
The function of the article is not, primarily, to make something definite. The article intrinsically has the ability to conceptualize.
He argues that without an article one is discussing a quality that can only be described. The article, by its very presence, indicates that a concept is identifiable. If identifiable, then the entity or object may be titled or named, and may, thus, be conceptualised as a thing rather than as a quality.
This division between quality and identity is a strong feature of Greek.
If what Wallace says is true, concerning the gift bequeathed by Greek to Western civilization, then why was it necessary (conceptually) to introduce other articles ? And, if Peter Masters also is correct (and I do not doubt that he is so) why do we now have five articles in English (zero-some-a/an-the-null) ?
Why do we need, conceptually, more than quality/identity in English ? is my question.