S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) English Language and Literature (영어영문학과) SNU working papers in English language and linguistics SNU working papers in English language and linguistics Vol.11 (2013)
Persistence in the Grammaticalization of the English Indefinite Article
- Lee, Hyeyeon
- Issue Date
- SNU Working Papers in English Linguistics and Language, Vol.11, pp. 62-73
- This paper proposes that Hopper (1991)’s Principle of Persistence can be well observed in the grammaticalization process of the English indefinite article. Persistence is an aspect of grammaticalization in which the traces of a grammaticalized item’s former lexical meaning are reflected in the constraints on its grammatical distribution. The persistence effect is evident in Present-day English when we look at the distributional constraints of the English indefinite article. The persistent ‘singular’ meaning of a/an keeps it from appearing with uncountable nouns and plural nouns, or with other numerals. Such an adherence of meaning is not only limited to the English indefinite article, but are also apparent in the classifier system of Malay and in the plural indefinite interpretation of Spanish.