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Languages 2017, 2(4), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages2040020

Determiner Asymmetry in Mixed Nominal Constructions: The Role of Grammatical Factors in Data from Miami and Nicaragua

1
Leiden University Center for Linguistics, Leiden University, Van Wijkplaats 3, 2311 BX Leiden, The Netherlands
2
Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge, 9 West Road, CB3 9DP Cambridge, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Usha Lakshmanan and Osmer Balam
Received: 28 February 2017 / Revised: 5 September 2017 / Accepted: 12 September 2017 / Published: 6 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clausal and Nominal Complements in Monolingual and Bilingual Grammars)
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Abstract

This paper focuses on the factors influencing the language of determiners in nominal constructions in two sets of bilingual data: Spanish/English from Miami and Spanish/English creole from Nicaragua. Previous studies (Liceras et al. 2008; Moro Quintanilla 2014) have argued that Spanish determiners are preferred in mixed nominal constructions because of their grammaticised nature. However, those studies did not take the matrix language into account, even though Herring et al. (2010) found that the language of the determiner matched the matrix language. Therefore, we hypothesise that the matrix language is the main influence on the language of the determiner in both mixed and unmixed nominal constructions. The results are consistent with our hypothesis that the matrix language of the clause provides the language of the determiner in mixed and unmixed Determiner Phrases (DPs). Once the matrix language is controlled for, the Miami data show a greater tendency for Spanish determiners to appear in mixed DPs than English determiners. However, in the Nicaragua data, we found only mixed DPs with an English creole determiner. This suggests that bilingual communities do not always follow the same pattern, and that social rather than grammatical factors may be at play. We conclude that while the language of the determiner is influenced by clause-internal structure, that of its noun complement and the matrix language itself depends on extralinguistic considerations. View Full-Text
Keywords: code-switching; matrix language; determiner-phrases; Spanish; English; Nicaraguan Creole English code-switching; matrix language; determiner-phrases; Spanish; English; Nicaraguan Creole English
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Blokzijl, J.; Deuchar, M.; Parafita Couto, M.C. Determiner Asymmetry in Mixed Nominal Constructions: The Role of Grammatical Factors in Data from Miami and Nicaragua. Languages 2017, 2, 20.

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