The Syntax and Semantics of a Determiner System

A case study of Mauritian creole

Diana Guillemin | Griffith University
ISBN 9789027252609 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
ISBN 9789027284709 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
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Within the framework of Chomsky’s Minimalism and Formal Semantics, this work documents the development of the Mauritian Creole (MC) determiner system from the mid 18th century to the present. Guillemin proposes that the loss of the French quantificational determiners, which agglutinated to nouns, resulted in the occurrence of bare nouns in argument positions. This triggered a shift in noun denotation, from predicative in French to argumental in MC, and accounts for the very different determiner systems of the creole and its lexifier. MC nouns are lexically stored as Kind denoting terms, that share some of the distributional properties of English bare plurals. New MC determiners are analyzed as ‘type shifting operators’ that shift Kinds into predicates, and serve to establish the referential properties of noun phrases. The analysis provides evidence for the universality of semantic features like Definiteness and Specificity, and the mapping of their form and function.

[Creole Language Library, 38] 2011.  xviii, 310 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the only work in creolistics where the reader is presented with such a wide range of data that feeds into a very sophisticated analysis. […] On the description side, the data is presented in a very systematic manner using current tools in minimalism. While there is a body of literature on this issue in well-described languages, this domain of enquiry is virtually new in creolistics.”
“This work ‘recommends itself for various aspects to the attention of both the scientific community concerned with the historical study of creole languages and that interested in the theory of form and interpretation of noun phrases. Major strength points are the almost unprecedented riches of detailed diachronic data on the development of a creole language and the original attempt to address such data through the most sophisticated tools recently made available by formal grammar, both on the syntactic and the semantic side. Such tools are introduced to the reader from scratch, along with a wide number of useful bibliographical references, which are doubtless useful also for many scholars experienced in the field.”
“This work 'addresses issues of the syntax-semantics interface such as the licensing of specificity, definiteness and number and its implications as to the distribution of (bare) noun phrases in Mauritian Creole (MC). In order to do this, the author first presents a fantastic semantic analysis of bare noun phrases and determiner noun phrases in MC, building on Longobardi (1994), Chierchia (1998) and much related work. […] I have no doubt that the finding of this work will open a new research agenda in creolistics’.”
“The data and the discussion of definiteness and specificity is an outstanding value of the book. G points to the Kwa and Bantu languages as ones that cut the cake the way MC does, but comparison with other languages that allow bare singulars to occur as arguments would also be most interesting. Some of those, such as Slavic languages, have no articles at all; others, like Hungarian and Hindi, have definite and/or indefinite articles. One hopes that the book under review will inspire a new wave of comparative studies, syntactic and semantic, in this area.”
“Guillemin’s work on the Mauritian Creole determiner system is a great contribution not only to the field of general linguistics, but also to the debate on creole genesis and I expect it to be widely used by scholars in both fields.”
Cited by

Cited by 13 other publications

Aboh, Enoch O. & Michel DeGraff
Alleesaib, Muhsina
2019. Les SN pluriels avec bann en créole mauricien. Faits de Langues 49:1  pp. 99 ff. DOI logo
FitzGerald, Sarah
2020. A corpus‐based method for identifying word class in an English lexified extended pidgin. World Englishes 39:2  pp. 348 ff. DOI logo
Guillemin, Diana
2015. Of nouns, and kinds, and properties, and why one D is null or not. Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique 60:3  pp. 259 ff. DOI logo
Hassamal, Shrita, Anne Abeillé & Fabiola Henri
2019. Les adverbes en mauricien. Faits de Langues 49:1  pp. 69 ff. DOI logo
Kouwenberg, Silvia & John Victor Singler
2018. Creolization in Context: Historical and Typological Perspectives. Annual Review of Linguistics 4:1  pp. 213 ff. DOI logo
Krämer, Philipp
2015. Review of Caid (2000): Étude comparée des systèmes verbaux en créole réunionnais et mauricien. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 30:1  pp. 184 ff. DOI logo
Stein, Peter
2022. Evelyn Wiesinger, Le syntagme nominal en créole guyanais. Une étude synchronique et diachronique du marqueur LA (Kreolische Bibliothek 27), Hamburg, Buske, 2017, XI + 501 p.. Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 138:1  pp. 301 ff. DOI logo
Szeto, Pui Yiu, Jackie Yan-ki Lai & Umberto Ansaldo
2021. Creole typology is analytic typology. Language Ecology  pp. 89 ff. DOI logo
Talić, Aida
2015. Adverb extraction, specificity, and structural parallelism. Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique 60:3  pp. 417 ff. DOI logo
Wiesinger, Evelyn
2017. Marquage du pluriel en créole guyanais et au-delà. Études créoles :34 | 1-2 DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 11 september 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CF/2ZXP: Linguistics/Esperanto

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2011026798 | Marc record