The Mauritian Creole determiner system

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The process of article incorporation early in the genesis of Mauritian Creole (MC) resulted in the occurrence of a bare nouns in argument positions with ambiguous interpretations between (in)definite, singular, plural and generic. A new determiner system gradually emerged, but MC continues to admit bare nouns in argument positions. It is argued in this paper that the process of article incorporation triggered a shift in noun denotation from predicative in French to argumental in MC. Like English bare plurals, MC nouns are of an argumental kind-denoting terms that do not require a determiner in argument positions. The MC singular indefinite article enn and the plural marker bann serve to cderive instances of kinds. The differential behaviour of MC count and mass nouns is attributed to the number feature which must be checked for count nouns, and provides evidence for a phonologically null definite determiner which is licensed in subject position by the specificity marker la.


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