Definiteness markers in the Life of St Petka

Ivan Šimko 1
  • 1 University of, Slavic Seminary, Plattenstrasse 43, Zurich, Switzerland
Ivan Šimko

Abstract

The following paper addresses the problem of the diachronic development of definiteness markers in Bulgarian as attested in literature. As the previous research focused on the postponed article as the main definiteness marker in present-day Bulgarian, our study compares its use with that of other markers, namely the long-form adjective and the adnominal demonstrative pronoun. The traditional view sees a steady convergence between the literary norm and the dialectal use of the article. To challenge this view, we observe the frequency of use of all definiteness markers on an empirical basis. Оur study uses a sample containing six versions of the hagiography of St Petka of Tarnovo, also known as St Parascheva of Epibates. The text for this study is provided by a historical corpus of pre-standardized Balkan Slavic literature, which is being constructed to enable us comparisons between the dialectal and diachronic data. The samples are chosen to minimalize the effects of genre, structure and content differences on the results. The frequency of individual types of definiteness markers in respective versions of the text shows that the development of the damaskini language was not only different in respect to dialectal developments in the area, but in some respects even contrary to them.

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