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Lidwoordomissie in Moroccan Flavored Dutch* : Kale nomina in eentalige Nederlandse uitingen

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Article omission in Moroccan Flavored Dutch. Bare nouns in monolingual Dutch expressions

The aim of this paper is to shed light on article omission in Moroccan Flavored Dutch (MFD), a language variety in which Moroccan linguistic material (mainly Berber and Arabic) is combined with Dutch. It is well-known that MFD speakers are often inclined to omit articles in nominal phrases, and by doing so expressions contain so-called bare nouns (nominals without articles, i.e. definite or indefinite articles). This raises the question what triggers article omission in MFD. This study focuses on Dutch expressions that are embedded in MFD discourse and provides an innovative explanation for bare noun constructions. In particular, we argue that article omission in MFD is the result of an interplay between identity marking (article omission indexes the belonging to an ethnic subgroup in contrast to outsiders) and information structure. We show that there is a correlation between the syntactic position of a constituent and the type of article (i.e. definite or indefinite) that is omitted. The direct object position yields an indefinite, discourse-new interpretation of the bare nominal phrase. Since the neutral surface order of a Dutch main clause is subject-initial, the direct object position is canonically a focus position that is associated with new information. Therefore, the information structure of Dutch clauses seems to be a trigger for article omission.
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Keywords: Moroccan Flavored Dutch; bare nouns; definiteness; information structure; socio-syntax

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2019

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  • Het tijdschrift Nederlandse Taalkunde publiceert bijdragen aan de wetenschappelijke studie van de Nederlandse taal in de ruimste zin van het woord. Nederlandse Taalkunde streeft ernaar bijdragen te publiceren vanuit zoveel mogelijk verschillende vakgebieden van de Nederlandse taalkunde en vanuit zoveel mogelijk verschillende benaderingen binnen die vakgebieden. Alle soorten bijdragen (artikelen, squibs en boekbesprekingen) kunnen in het Engels of het Nederlands geschreven zijn. Artikelen van Nederlandse Taalkunde verschijnen in Open Access, na een periode van drie jaar.

    Nederlandse Taalkunde publishes scholarly articles in both Dutch and English about linguistics, concerning the Dutch language, and in the broadest sense. The journal aims to include contributions from all subdisciplines within linguistics. In addition to research articles Nederlandse Taalkunde also publishes overviews and discussions on contemporary subjects within the field. Articles in Nederlandse Taalkunde are published in Open Access, after a period of three years.
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