Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2211-6834
  • E-ISSN: 2211-6842
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The , adopted by many syntactic analyses, claims that nominal arguments are introduced by a determiner (D), which may be covert or overt. While overt D is obligatory in Modern French (consistent with the argument DP hypothesis), it was not obligatory in earlier stages of French. We explore the factors that contributed to this change – including , and  – focusing on a shift that occurred in the D-paradigm in two Anglo-Norman texts of the 12th century. Quantitative analysis () yields two major findings. First, the effect of remains constant: subject position favours overt D, but object position inhibits it. Second, there is a change in the effect of : count nouns increasingly favour overt D, but non-count (mass and abstract) nouns increasingly inhibit it. More generally, the gradual disappearance of bare Ns in French reflects the emergence of paradigmatically conditioned D.


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