On the syntax of Romanian definite phrases
We discuss a type of variation in the pattern of definiteness valuation in Old Romanian (XVIth to XVIIIth century), which has never been noticed before, and examine its significance for the evolution of the DP. In Old Romanian, the suffixed definite article variably occurs <i>either on the first or on a lower [+N] constituent</i> (noun or adjective), so that an indefinite adjective may precede the definite noun. In contrast, in Modern Romanian, it is always the first noun which bears the definite article, while, in case an adjective precedes the noun, the definite article occurs on the adjective. The existence of this lower (definite) article raises several questions (the contexts where it occurs, its significance for the emergence of the enclitic definite article, etc.), to which this paper provides tentative answers. We propose that the existence of a lower definite article combined with a tendency for economy made possible the extension of the use of the article to (pre‑nominal) adjectives, gradually leading to stricter conditions in the valuation of definiteness in Modern Romanian (Local Agree). At the same time, the lower article is evidence that the Romanian enclitic definite article originates in a post-posed demonstrative.