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date: 07 December 2022

Partitive Articles in the Romance Languageslocked

Partitive Articles in the Romance Languageslocked

  • Anne CarlierAnne CarlierSorbonne University
  •  and Béatrice LamiroyBéatrice LamiroyKU Leuven, Department of Linguistics

Summary

Partitive articles raise several research questions. First, whereas a vast majority of the world’s languages do not have articles at all, and only some have a definite article as well as an indefinite article for singular count nouns, why did some Romance languages develop an article for indefinite plural nouns (Frdes hommesart.indf.m.pl man:pl ‘men’) and singular mass or abstract nouns (Itdel vinoart.indf.m.sg wine ‘wine’, Frdu bonheurart.indf.m.sg happiness ‘happiness’)? Secondly, unlike the definite article and the indefinite singular article, whose source is already a determiner (or pronoun), that is, the distal demonstrative and the unity numeral respectively, the partitive article derives from a preposition contracted with the definite article. How did the Latin preposition de grammaticalize into an article? And why was the grammaticalization process completed in French, but not in Italian? Thirdly, given that the source of the partitive article was available for all Romance languages, since some form of partitive construction was already attested in Late Latin, why did the process not take place in Rumanian and the Ibero-Romance languages?

Subjects

  • Historical Linguistics
  • Language Families/Areas/Contact
  • Semantics
  • Syntax

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