Clause-final determiners

In many languages, such as Fɔn, Haitian Creole (Lefebvre 1992, 1998, Aboh 2005); Gã (Dakubu 1992; Renans 2016; Grubic & Renans 2017; Korsah 2017); Akan (Saah 1994, Bombi et al. 2019), Bùlì, Kusaal (Hiraiwa et al. 2017, Abubakari 2019), and Ngamo (Schuh 2005, Grubic 2015, Grubic & Renans 2016), definite determiners (and demonstratives, e.g., ʔayʔaǰuθəm, Huijsmans and Reisinger 2018) have a wider distribution beyond the nominal domain and occur at the end of main clauses, relative clauses, focus/topic-clefts, adverbial clauses, subject complement clauses, i.a. Such definite determiners have been referred to as ‘clausal determiners’ (Lefebvre 1992; Saah 1994).

We are interested in languages with clausal determiners:

  • What conditions must be met in order to license the use of a clausal determiner? Are these conditions syntactic, or semantic, or both?
  • What is the syntax of clauses with a clausal determiner?
  • What is their semantics: if they are definite descriptions, do they refer to individuals, events, situations, or worlds?
  • What notion of familiarity (or perhaps uniqueness) is involved with clausal determiners?
  • What other determiners can occur clause-finally? Can determiners co-occur?
  • What is the relation to determiners in the nominal domain? For example, if the clause-final determiner is optional, is the definite determiner in the nominal domain also optional, i.e. where definite bare nouns as well as overt marking of definiteness exists? Does this correspond to a system of two kinds of definites? Is there a covert clausal determiner or type-shift in languages which overtly seem to lack clausal determiners (as proposed for the nominal domain in articleless languages)? Why are clausal determiners less frequent than nominal determiners?