Synchronic ubiquity of the Basque article <i>-a:</i> A look from diachrony

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The Basque definite article -a is used in more contexts than the articles in neighboring languages. This extensive use is problematic for synchronic analysis; this article will offer a diachronic perspective of the problem. Non-referential noun phrases (mass nouns and plural expressions in particular) in object position will be analyzed, showing that in old Basque they lacked the definite article; the extensive use of <i>-a/-ak</i> in these contexts in modern Basque will be related to the spread into non-referential expressions of the genitive plural declension mark <i>-en</i>, which shares its diachronic origin with the definite article -a.


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