An article on the rise

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In this paper we take a somewhat unconventional perspective and address the evolution of the article as attested in early South Slavic (10th &#8211; 11th c.) in the light of contact with New Testament Greek, which was the source language for the early translations in a situation of active language interaction (bilingualism). Our analysis builds on comprehensive corpus data which suggest, counter to traditional views, that, at this stage, the article is already a functional category inside the nominal expression. We propose that this is the result of a reanalysis (Harris &#38; Campbell 1995; Roberts 2007) of the item at hand of the type maximal (phrasal) constituent > head (SpecDP > D0), or in terms of grammatical mechanism <i>move > merge</i> (Roberts &#38; Roussou 2003), and show that in the structure of the nominal phrase at this stage the article and the demonstrative are already distinct syntactic categories, despite the complete phonological/ morphological overlap. Our data suggest further that the process of the evolution of the article is in direct correlation with the loss of N-to-D0 movement as a way of signaling definiteness in the DP.


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