Stating the case for <i>&#254;</i>- root and <i>hw</i>- root determiners

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In this article I will show that the existence of coherent classes of determiners based on pan-Germanic <i>þ</i>- and <i>hw</i>- roots, such as English ‘this’ and ‘which’ and German ‘diese’ and ‘welche’, make it necessary to reanalyse the syntactic classes and paradigmatic contrasts in the functional domain of Germanic DPs. It will be argued that the two þ- and hw- morphemes contain procedural semantics which encodes two contrasting ways that a referent may be identified for an index in a propositional form. I will focus on English and German, but reference will also be made to Danish.As a first step it will be argued that there is no coherent syntactic class of articles. Then I will draw on etymological and comparative data, and on morphological and distributional facts to show that the two morphemes have been remarkably resilient across Germanic languages for more than a thousand years. Finally, I will anchor their resilience in their semantic and pragmatic raison d’être.


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