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16 - On Arabic Morphosyntax and Its Implications for the Theory of Generative Grammar

from Part III - Theoretical and Descriptive Studies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 September 2021

Karin Ryding
Affiliation:
Georgetown University, Washington DC
David Wilmsen
Affiliation:
American University of Beirut
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Summary

Usama Soltan brings his considerable expertise in generative theory to bear on Arabic morphosyntax in Arabic dialects and in Standard Arabic. He focuses on three topics: agreement phenomena, case marking, and negation structures. Using a Principles and Parameters approach, he discusses subject-verb agreement asymmetry (SVAA) in Standard Arabic and first conjunct agreement in both Standard Arabic and in Arabic vernacular. As he notes, both these topics have garnered the interest of generative linguists in terms of their wider impact on general grammatical theory. Case marking, his second topic, pertains to Standard Arabic only, but is rich in history, analysis, and speculative theory within the Arabic linguistic tradition. Soltan focuses on subject and object marking of NPs, noting the difference between case assigners for each and discussing the role of syntactic government. The morphosyntax of negation is Soltan’s third topic, contrasting the various negation processes of Standard Arabic with the extensive negative formulations of Cairene Egyptian Arabic (CEA) and finding ‘a rich ground for the analysis of clausal structure and its implications’ where the study of the syntax of modern Arabic dialects contributes significantly to general linguistic theory.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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