Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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It is well known that since neither the inflectional morphemes nor most of the closed-class items of the lexifier language survive in pidgins, grammatical distinctions are not obligatorily marked. We thus find a large number of unmodified nouns and verbs. As pidgins are elaborated, processes of grammaticalization work to regularize the marking of grammatical categories and relations, and to increase redundancy overall. This paper considers the grammaticalization of determiners in Tok Pisin, looking at the extent to which the semantic features of specificity and definiteness are sufficient to explain the distributions we find in texts both from contemporary fluent second-language and creole speakers, and from earlier stages of the language. We suggest that the semantic feature of inalienability, marked in the grammars of many substrate languages, also plays an important role in determining Tok Pisin noun phrases.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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