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.
|Translated title of the contribution||Article omission in Moroccan Flavored Dutch: Bare nouns in monolingual Dutch expressions|
|Number of pages||32|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2019|
- Moroccan Flavored Dutch
- bare nouns
- information structure