This chapter addresses the question whether a definite article can co-occur with an adnominal demonstrative in the same noun phrase. This is not possible in English (*this the book) or French (*le ce livre-là), but in many other languages, it is possible, e.g.
In such constructions, the definite article does not add any information; thus, in Spanish the alternative construction ese hombre (with prenominal demonstrative and without the definite article) has the same meaning. But as noun phrases modified by a demonstrative are usually regarded as definite, the option of including a definite article is not surprising. On the other hand, since they cannot be indefinite, it is also not surprising that many languages are like English and French and dispense with the definite article in the presence of a demonstrative.
The basic contrast is thus between constructions like (1)-(2) with co-occurrence (value 1) and constructions like those of English with no co-occurrence of demonstrative and definite article (value 2). Both are well-represented in our data. But in addition, there are cases where the definite article is identical to a demonstrative (see Chapter 28 on definite articles) so that the issue of co-occurrence does not arise (value 3). Finally, in some languages there is no definite article at all, and these, too, are irrelevant here (value 4). Note that all languages have demonstratives (Diessel 1999: 1).
|Demonstrative identical to definite article||18||1||19|
|No definite article exists||19||0||19|
Thirteen languages only have constructions with co-occurrence of demonstrative and definite article, and another 7 languages have this as one possibility (value 1). Among the European-based languages, this option is found mostly in those that have a new definite article that is not derived from the lexifier. For example, in several French-based languages there is a new postposed definite article (l)a, which may combine with a demonstrative:
However, in one Spanish-based language, both the Spanish demonstrative and the article have survived (though the construction shows a different order than that in (1)):
In the other Surinamese creoles, the postposed demonstrative is derived from a spatial adverb ‘there’; the same pattern is found in Papiamentu:
Of the 19 languages in which non-cooccurrence (i.e. complementary distribution) of demonstrative and definite article is the only option, 15 are English-based languages which are relatively close to English, almost all of them from the Atlantic region. In these languages the non-co-occurrence pattern was inherited from English, alongside the demonstratives and definite article:
Non-co-occurrence occurs sporadically elsewhere, e.g. in the mixed language Gurindji Kriol, which has the English/Kriol-derived definite article thet and Gurindji-derived demonstratives; the two do not cooccur (e.g. nyawa ngumpit [this man], dat warlaku [the dog]).
As we saw in Chapter 28 on definite articles, nineteen languages have a definite article that is identical to a demonstrative. All these languages have value 3 in this feature. Some examples are given in (8), with some possible translations.
Some of the examples given for these languages include a postposed spatial adverbial, so that the construction becomes similar to that of (6a-c). However, in the examples in (6) the spatial adverbial is required for a demonstrative sense, whereas here it could be omitted and the meaning could still be demonstrative.
Nineteen languages have no definite article. These are irrelevant here, as they are for Feature 9 (on definite-article order) and Feature 28 (on the presence and nature of definite articles).
A number of languages allow several different options, because they have several different constructions of demonstratives, like Spanish, which allows both co-occurrence (in ex. 1) and non-co-occurrence (in the construction ese hombre ‘that man’).
In Belizean Creole, the demonstratives dis/dat precede the noun and cannot cooccur with the definite article, but the plural demonstrative dem follows the noun and cooccurs:
|a.||dat ki [that caye] 'that caye'|
|b.||di ki dem [the cayes those] 'those cayes'|
Similarly, in Early Sranan the postnominal, but not the prenominal demonstratives cooccur with the definite article:
|a.||disi pranasi ['this plantation']|
|b.||dem pikin dissi ['the children these']|
In Louisiana Creole, the (postnominal) demonstrative sala cooccurs with a prenominal definite article under certain conditions (e.g. obligatorily when the noun is plural and animate):
|a.||dons sala [dance that] 'that dance'|
|b.||le moun sala [the.PL people that] 'those people'|
In Early Sranan, the definite article (da, dem/den) that can co-occur with a postnominal demonstrative can also be used as a demonstrative by itself (e.g. den dirkture ‘those managers’), so this language has value 3 in addition to 1 and 2.