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A stranger in the house: The French article <i>de</i>

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Abstract

The present contribution argues in favour of the recognition of an article de in French which occurs either alone or with another article. The approach adopted calls for an historical recapitulation, i.e. “where does the article come from?”, a theoretical investigation, i.e. “what is an article?”, and the identification of an inventory, i.e. “what qualifies as an article?”. Finally, a table is provided which summarizes the articles in terms of three pairs of oppositions, viz. part vs. whole, mass vs. count, continuous vs. discontinuous. The article de is definable as a partitive article, sometimes mass or count, continuous or discontinuous (where the form is <i>de</i>), sometimes continuous mass (where the form is <i>du</i>, <i>de la</i>), sometimes discontinuous mass or count (where the form is <i>des</i>), sometimes continuous mass and count (where the form is <i>d’un</i>, <i>d’une</i>).

References

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