A description of bare noun phrases in Reunion Creole
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 lo and postnominal -la 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 lo is mandatory to build a grammatical NP out of nouns formed by a unique light syllable. We also demonstrate that, in these cases, lo 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 1985, 1998, 2011, 2015).
Keywords: Reunion Creole, bare noun phrases, determiners, monosyllabic nouns, clitics, phonological constraints, weak reference, weak definites, semantic definiteness, pragmatic definiteness
Published online: 13 May 2020
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