I kept seeing the word sono その but apperently it means "this". does anyone know what "the" is?
Have you ever heard an English language learner complain that the usage of the definite article, the, was hard and confusing? That might be in part because it does not exist in their native language.
That's the case in Japanese: the articles "the" and "a" do not exist. In order for you to think about a sentence in those terms, you would have to deduce the article from context.
I found a little example here:
Definiteness of Nouns
In Japanese, the definiteness and plurality of a noun is implicit. That means you can't tell without context if a noun is singular or plural, or if it's definite or indefinite. A single Japanese noun can be translated in five different ways. For example:
- neko 猫
That's not to say you can't specify. You can, for example, use the demonstratives この・その・あの: このほん (this book). However, just because you can doesn't mean you have to. If it's clear from context, then it's not necessary.
I couldn't quickly find a post regarding the Japanese language specifically, but here are some related readings on the matter (Linguistics SE):
There is no definite "the" in the Japanese language. What you could say is:
- この犬 （This dog) ...
- 犬が好きですか。（Do you like dogs）
- 小さい犬です。（The dog is small)
- 犬はうるさいです。（Dogs are noisy / The/That dog is noisy.)
As you can tell, there is really no definite way. The only way to convey your meaning clearly is to use specific terms (eg. この）. However, not using specific terms does not normally change your original meaning by a lot.
Hope this helps! :D