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Romance article (was: Arabic article)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 18:59
On Tuesday, November 11, 2003, at 07:07 PM, John Cowan wrote:

> Andreas Johansson scripsit: > >> But I'd still be interested to know when Spanish - and other Romance >> langs for >> that matter - acquired articles. > > Clearly deep in the Vulgar Latin period, considering how universal they > are > in all Romance languages.
Yes - I'm sure this correct. One can only speculate why - Greek-Latin bilingualism had been long-standing in Italy itself (Greek, Latin & Oscan were being used in Pompeian graffiti when the city was overwhelmed in 79 AD) - and Greek had possessed a definite article from well before the Homeric period (8th cent. BCE). Also in the late Empire many Germanic speakers had settled within the borders and no doubt carried some Germanicisms into their spoken Latin. In fact, as Vulgar Latin became the spoken language of many diverse peoples, all sorts of influences were at work.
> True that Sardinian and Alghero Catalan use > ipse-derived rather than ille-derived articles,
Yes - and IIRC earlier form of many (most?) western Romancelangs show a hesitancy between form derived from V.L. *isse (C.L. ipse) and *ille both for the definite article and the 3rd. pers. pronoun.
> and Romanian postposes its > ille-derived article,
Local difference, no doubt influenced by local speech habits. The definite are is suffixed to nouns in Albanian, for example. And when Bulgarian (and Macedonian) developed a definite article (AFAIK the only Slav lang. to do so) it was also suffixed to the noun.
> but still the idea of articles must have been in the > air before the Romance languages split up.
Not merely in the air, but on the lips of the V.L. speakers :) Ray =============================================== (home) (work) ===============================================