Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This paper discusses the general distribution and interpretation of bare noun phrases (BNPs) in Reunion Creole (RC). To set the required background for this description, it also discusses the count-mass distinction and offers an insight into the determiner system since elements such as prenominal and postnominal - have received rather divergent designations and analyses in the literature. Observations rely on oral data and felicity judgments.

We show that RC BNPs can occupy the same positions as noun phrases (NPs) modified by a determiner and that they can be left-dislocated, clefted and topicalized. We provide evidence that, except for some specific contexts, monosyllabic BNPs are not licensed and that the form is mandatory to build a grammatical NP out of nouns formed by a unique light syllable.1 We also demonstrate that, in these cases, is actually a semantically empty element. BNPs are number-neutral; we argue that existential BNPs are pseudo-incorporated in some cases but that they always have weak reference. BNPs can receive generic and kind readings, as well as an existential and a certain definite interpretation: they are weak definites, i.e. they are semantically, never pragmatically definite (following Löbner 1985199820112015).


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Aboh, Enoch O. & Smith, Norval
    2009 Simplicity, simplification, complexity and complexification: where have the interfaces gone?InAboh, Enoch, Smith, Norval (eds.), Complex processes in new languages, 1–25. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cll.35.02abo
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cll.35.02abo [Google Scholar]
  2. Aboh, Enoch O. & DeGraff, Michel
    2014 Some notes on bare noun phrases in Haitian Creole and in Gungbe: a transatlantic sprachbund perspective. InÅfarli Tor Anders & Mæhlum, Brit (eds.), The sociolinguistics of grammar, 203–236. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.154.11abo
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.154.11abo [Google Scholar]
  3. Aboh, Enoch O.
    2015The emergence of hybrid grammars: contact, change and creation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139024167
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139024167 [Google Scholar]
  4. 2016 Creole distinctiveness: a dead end. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages31. 400–418. 10.1075/jpcl.31.2.07abo
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jpcl.31.2.07abo [Google Scholar]
  5. Albers, Ulrike
    2019 Le syntagme nominal en créole réunionnais : forme et interprétation. Marseille: Aix-Marseille University
  6. Allan, Keith
    1980 Nouns and countability. Language56. 541–567. 10.2307/414449
    https://doi.org/10.2307/414449 [Google Scholar]
  7. Alleesaib, Muhsina
    2012Le groupe nominal en créole mauricien : études syntaxiques. Saint-Denis: Université de Paris VIII.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Armand, Alain
    2014Dictionnaire kréol / français Dictionnaire kréol rénioné français. Saint-Denis: Epica.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Beyssade, Claire
    2011 Bare nouns in predicate position in French. InPogodalla, Sylvain; Quatrini, Myriam & Rétoré Christian (eds.), Logic and grammar: essays dedicated to Alain Lecomte on the occasion of his 60th birthday, 1–16. Berlin: Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑642‑21490‑5_1
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-21490-5_1 [Google Scholar]
  10. 2013 Back to uniqueness presupposition. Recherches Linguistiques de Vincennes42. 123–139rlv.revues.org/2190 (16March 2018).
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Bollée, Annegret
    2013a Reunion Creole. InMichaelis, Susanne; Maurer, Philippe; Haspelmath, Martin & Huber, Magnus (eds.), The survey of pidgin and creole languages. Vol. II: Portuguese-based, Spanish-based and French-based languages, 241–249. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. 2013b Reunion Creole structure dataset. InMichaelis, Susanne; Maurer, Philippe & Haspelmath, Martin & Huber, Magnus (eds.), Atlas of pidgin and creole language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, apics-online.info/contributions/54 (16March 2018).
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Borik, Olga & Gehrke, Berit
    2015 An introduction to the syntax and semantics of pseudo-incorporation. InBorik, Olga & Gehrke, Berit. The syntax and semantics of pseudo-incorporation, 1–43. Leiden: Brill. 10.1163/9789004291089_002
    https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004291089_002 [Google Scholar]
  14. Borthen, Kaja
    2003Norwegian bare singulars. Oslo: Norvegian University of Science and Technology.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Bouchard, Denis
    2003 Les SN sans déterminant en français et en anglais. InMiller, Philip H. & Zribi-Hertz, Anne, Essais sur la grammaire comparée du français et de l’anglais, 55–95. Saint-Denis: Presses Universitaires de Vincennes.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Carlson, Gregory N.
    1977 A unified analysis of the English bare plural. Linguistics and Philosophy1. 413–457. 10.1007/BF00353456
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00353456 [Google Scholar]
  17. Carlson, Greg & Sussman, Rachel
    2005 Seemingly indefinite definites. InKepsar, Stephan & Reis, Marga (eds.), Linguistic evidence: empirical, theoretical, and computational perspectives, 26–30. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110197549.71
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110197549.71 [Google Scholar]
  18. Cellier, Pierre
    1985Description syntaxique du créole réunionnais : Essai de standardisation. Lille: ANRT Lille 3.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Chaudenson, Robert
    1974Le Lexique du parler créole de La Réunion. Saint-Denis: H. Champion.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. 2007 Bare nouns in Réunionnais Creole. InBaptista, Marlyse & Guéron, Jacqueline (eds.), Noun phrases in creole languages: a multi-faceted approach, 226–242. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cll.31.13cha
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cll.31.13cha [Google Scholar]
  21. Chierchia, Gennaro
    1998 Reference to kinds across languages. Natural Language Semantics6 (4). 339–400. 10.1023/A:1008324218506
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008324218506 [Google Scholar]
  22. Christophersen, Paul
    1939The articles: a study of their theory and use in English. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Corbett, Greville
    2000Number. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139164344
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139164344 [Google Scholar]
  24. Déprez, Viviane
    1999 De la nature sémantique des nominaux sans déterminant en créole haïtien. Langues2 (4). 289–300.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. 2005 Morphological number, semantic number and bare nouns. Lingua115 (6). 857–883. 10.1016/j.lingua.2004.01.006
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2004.01.006 [Google Scholar]
  26. 2006 On the conceptual role of number. InNishida Chiyo & J. P. Montreuil (eds), New perspectives on romance languages, 61–85. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cilt.275.07dep
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.275.07dep [Google Scholar]
  27. 2007 Implicit determination and plural. InBaptista, Marlyse & Guéron, Jacqueline (eds.), Noun phrases in creole languages: a multi-faceted approach, 301–336. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cll.31.17dep
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cll.31.17dep [Google Scholar]
  28. Dixon, Robert & Aikhenvald, Alexandra
    (eds.) 2003Word: A cross-linguistic typology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511486241
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511486241 [Google Scholar]
  29. Dobrovie-Sorin, Carmen & Laca, Brenda
    2003 Les noms sans déterminant dans les langues romanes. InGodard, Danièle (eds.), Les Langues romanes. Problèmes de la phrase simple, 235–281. Paris: CNRS Editions.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Donnellan, Keith S.
    1966 Reference and definite descriptions. The Philosophical Review75 (3). 281–304. 10.2307/2183143
    https://doi.org/10.2307/2183143 [Google Scholar]
  31. Ebert, Karen H.
    1970Referenz, Sprechsituation und die bestimmten Artikel in einem nordfriesischen Dialekt. Bräist/Bredstedt: Nordfriisk Instituut.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Espinal, M. Teresa & McNally, Louise
    2011 Bare nominals and incorporating verbs in Spanish and Catalan. Journal of Linguistics47 (1). 87–128. 10.1017/S0022226710000228
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022226710000228 [Google Scholar]
  33. Greenberg, Joseph H.
    1978 How does a language acquire gender markers?InFerguson, Charles A. & all. (eds.), Universals of Human Language 3: Word Structure, 47–82. Stanford University Press, Stanford.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Grice, H. Paul
    1975 Logic and conversation. InCole, Peter & Morgan, Jerry (eds.), Syntax and Semantics 3: Speech acts, 41–58. New York: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Haspelmath, Martin
    2011 The gradual coalescence into ‘words’ in grammaticalization. InNarrog, Heiko, & Heine, Bernd (eds.), The Oxford handbook of grammaticalization, 342–355. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Heim, Irene
    1982The semantics of definite and indefinite noun phrases. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Himmelmann, Nikolaus P.
    2001 Articles. InHaspelmath, Martin & all. (eds.), Language typology and language universals: An international handbook20, 831–841. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Ileana, Paul
    2009 On the presence versus absence of determiners in Malagasy. InJila Ghomeshi, Ileana Paul & Martina Wiltschko (eds.), Determiners: Universals and variation, 215–242. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Ionin, Tania
    2006 This is definitely specific: specificity and definiteness in article systems. Natural language semantics14 (2). 175–234. 10.1007/s11050‑005‑5255‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-005-5255-9 [Google Scholar]
  40. Jackendoff, Ray
    1991 Parts and boundaries. Cognition41 (1). 9–45. 10.1016/0010‑0277(91)90031‑X
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0277(91)90031-X [Google Scholar]
  41. Jean-Louis, Loïc & Zribi-Hertz, Anne
    2014 From noun to name: definiteness marking in modern Martinikè. InCabredo Hofherr, Patricia & Zribi-Hertz, Anne (eds.), Crosslinguistic studies on noun phrase structure and reference, 269–315. Boston: Brill.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Löbner, Sebastian
    1985 Definites. Journal of semantics4 (4). 279–326. 10.1093/jos/4.4.279
    https://doi.org/10.1093/jos/4.4.279 [Google Scholar]
  43. 1998 Definite associative anaphora. InS. Botley (eds.), Approaches to discourse anaphora: proceedings of DAARC96 – Discourse anaphora and Resolution Colloquium. Lancaster: Lancaster University.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. 2011 Concept types and determination. Journal of Semantics28 (3). 279–333. 10.1093/jos/ffq022
    https://doi.org/10.1093/jos/ffq022 [Google Scholar]
  45. 2015 Functional concepts and frames. InGamerschlag & all., Meaning, frames, and conceptual representation, 15–42. Düsseldorf: dup.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Lyons, Christopher
    1999Definiteness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511605789
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511605789 [Google Scholar]
  47. Norde, Muriel
    2002 The final stages of grammaticalization: affixhood and beyond. Typological Studies in Language49. 45–66. 10.1075/tsl.49.06nor
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.49.06nor [Google Scholar]
  48. Paul, Moles; Zribi-Hertz, Anne & Glaude, Herby
    (in press). Countability and number in a language without number inflection: evidence from Haitian Creole. InCabredo Hofherr, Patricia & Doetjes, Jenny, Handbook of grammatical number. New York: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Pelletier, Francis J.
    1979 Non-singular reference: Some Preliminaries. InPelletier, Francis J. (eds.), Mass terms: some philosophical problems, 1–14. Dordrecht: D. Reidel. 10.1007/978‑1‑4020‑4110‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4110-5 [Google Scholar]
  50. Quirk, Randolph; Greenbaum, Sidney; Leech, Geoffrey & Svartvik, Jan
    1985A comprehensive grammar of the English language. London: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Russell, Bertrand
    1905 On denoting, Mind56 (14). 479–493. 10.1093/mind/XIV.4.479
    https://doi.org/10.1093/mind/XIV.4.479 [Google Scholar]
  52. Schwarz, Florian
    2013 Two kinds of definites cross-linguistically. Language and Linguistics Compass10 (7). 534–559. 10.1111/lnc3.12048
    https://doi.org/10.1111/lnc3.12048 [Google Scholar]
  53. Staudacher-Valliamée, Gillette
    2004Grammaire du créole réunionnais. Saint-Denis: SEDES – Université de La Réunion.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Trommer, Jochen
    2008 Case suffixes, postpositions and the phonological word in Hungarian. Linguistics46. 403–438. 10.1515/LING.2008.014
    https://doi.org/10.1515/LING.2008.014 [Google Scholar]
  55. Véronique, Georges Daniel
    2002 Spécificités du syntagme nominal dans les créoles atlantiques. Faits de Langues20. 207–17.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Villoing, Florence
    2012 Contraintes de taille dans les mots composés : quand la phonologie entre en concurrence avec les contraintes morphologiques. InNeveu, Frank & all. (eds.), Actes du 3ème congrès mondial de linguistique française, 1425–1440. Paris: EDP Sciences.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Watbled, Jean-Philippe
    2015 Les particularités morphosyntaxiques du créole réunionnais. Etudes Créoles33 (2). 111–125.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Wespel, Johannes
    2008Descriptions and their domains : the patterns of definiteness marking in French-related creoles. Stuttgart: Universität Stuttgart.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Wiesinger, Evelyn
    2017 Nom sans déterminant vs. roun/oun/n N. Une étude de cas en créole guyanais. InPrescod, Paula (eds.), Approches plurielles du nom sans déterminant. Distributions, interprétations, fonctions, 229–250. Frankfurt: Lang.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error