From that to the : early stage definite articles in Old French, Haitian, and Mauritian

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2005-05-21

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This thesis is an examination of early stage definite articles in three languages: Old French, Haitian, and Mauritian. The stages of article development proposed by Greenberg (1978) will be used to analyze and categorize the definite articles in these languages. The development and use of definite articles in Old French have been matters of interest for many researchers, but many data remain that are difficult to explain. If hypotheses from Epstein (1993 and 1994) and Carlier and Goyens (1998) are combined, a more complete explanation of definite article behavior in Old French is found. This thorough analysis of early stage definite article use allows for the clarification of the behavior of definite articles in two francophone creoles, Haitian and Mauritian. The use of definite articles in these two creoles has frequently been the source of confusion, as each creole’s definite article does not behave in the same manner as the definite article in the superstrate language, French. These differences have caused some researchers to disregard the influence of French on the creoles; an assumption which proves to be hasty. It is the contention of the author that the differences between the definite article in Haitian and Mauritian and the definite article in French stem from the fact that these definite articles are at different stages of development. When the differences are studied in this light, they are no longer as striking. This thesis attempts to achieve the following goals: provide a more complete explanation of definite article behavior in Old French, Haitian, and Mauritian, demonstrate that the definite articles in Haitian and Mauritian are indeed Stage I definite articles as defined by Greenberg (1978), and strengthen the argument that the definite article in Haitian and Mauritian did develop from a French demonstrative

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