Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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This paper analyses the adnominal use of personal pronouns in a sample of 75 Australian languages. We develop two arguments. First, we argue that in all of the adnominal uses examined, the personal pronoun has a determiner-like function, showing both the functional properties and some of the behaviour of more typical determiner categories like demonstratives or articles. We support this analysis with evidence from positioning tendencies, semantics and discourse functions, and indications of grammaticization in some languages. Secondly, we show that this phenomenon is relatively widespread in Australia, occurring in about half of the languages examined here. We identify five potential geographic clusters, one or two of which can be analyzed as areally determined groupings around a centre with incipient grammaticization. From a typological perspective, these data present new evidence for a somewhat under-studied pathway to nominal determination, in addition to better-studied pathways involving demonstratives, numerals or adjectives.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Australian languages; determination; personal pronouns
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