The Diachronic Development of a French Indefinite Pronoun

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Both Modern French quantifiers and the Modern French Determiner Phrase have been the focus of numerous analyses. The current study is a diachronic contribution to this literature, focusing on the development of one universal quantifier—<i>chacun</i> “each”—from 1100 through 1925. Old and Middle French <i>chacun</i> fulfilled a variety of syntactic functions: It was used as a pronoun, a modifier, and was found in emphatic constructions with the indefinite article (<i>un chacun</i> “a each”). By the 16th<sup> </sup>century, this surface heterogeneity gave way and pronominal <i>chacun</i> dominated. On the basis of the diachronic evidence, I first consider the possibility of extending an existing analysis of a different quantifier, <i>aucun </i>“none, not any,” to <i>chacun</i>. After arguing against this extension, I suggest that, contrary to appearances, a unified syntactic structure underlies the Old and Middle French <i>chacun</i>, and that this single construction gave rise to two modern syntactic structures.


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