The Derivation of ‘Verbless’ Sentences in Arabic: A Probe-Goal-Agree Approach

Kamel Jouini

Abstract


In this paper, I provide an analysis of ‘verbless’ sentences in Arabic (mainly, the Standard variety, SA) in light of the claims of the feature-based probe-goal-Agree system of Chomsky (2001, 2004) and such assumptions as held by Biberauer et al. (2010) about probe-goal Agree relations being parameterized according to the feature-structure of functional elements derived in sentence structure. This analysis is essentially different from previous analyses in the literature relating to ‘verbless’ sentences in Arabic, such as Benmamoun’s (2008). In the present analysis, verbal inflection is the product of the valuation of a T-feature of verbs – i.e., [uT], as the unvalued uninterpretable counterpart of [iT] of tense (T as a node in sentence structure) in the syntax of languages. Using this framework of assumptions, I subsequently extend on Halila’s (1992) analysis of the famma-construction in Tunisian Arabic. In such constructions, famma-raising is the result of the verb-like nature of famma as an auxiliary or copula, which ultimately enters a probe-goal-Agree relation with T for tense interpretation at Logical Form (LF) in the syntax.

Keywords


Predicate, Verbless, Agree, Probe-goal, Famma, Feature Valuation, Tense Interpretation

Full Text:

PDF

References


Aarts, B. (1992). Small Clauses in English: The Nonverbal Types. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Akkal A. & Conegai A. (2000). On the status of AgrS in some Null Subject Langauges. In J. Lecarme, Lowenstamm J. & Shlonsky, U. (eds) In Research in Afroasiatic Grammar (pp. 1-22). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Aoun, J., Benmamoun, A. & Sportiche, D. (1994). Agreement, Word Order and Conjunction in Some Varieties of Arabic. Linguistic Inquiry 25, 195-220.

Aoun, J., Benmamoun, A. & Choueiri L. (2010). The Syntax of Arabic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Benmamoun, A. (2000). The Feature structure of Functional Categories: a Comparative Study of Arabic Dialects, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Benmamoun, A. (2008). Clause structure and the syntax of verbless sentences. In Freidin, R. Otero, C. & Zubizarreta M. L. (eds.) Foundational Issues in Linguistic Theory (pp. 105- 131). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Biberauer, T., Holmberg, A., Roberts, I. & Sheehan, M. (2010). Parametric Variation: Null Subjects in Minimalist Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Biberauer, T., & Roberts, I. (2010). Subjects, Tense and Verb-movement. In T. Biberauer et al. (pp. 263–302). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chekili, F. (2004). The position of the postverbal subject and agreement asymmetries in Arabic. Philologie im Netz 27, 35-46.

Chomsky, N. (1995a). Bare phrase structure. In Gert Webelhuth (ed.), Government and Binding Theory and the Minimalist Program (pp. 383–439). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Chomsky, N. (1995b). Categories and transformations. In Noam Chomsky. 1995c. (Pp. 219- 394).

Chomsky, N. (1995c). The Minimalist Program, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Chomsky, N. (2001). Derivation by Phase. In M. Kenstowicz (ed.), Ken Hale: A Life in

Language (pp.1 – 52). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Chomsky, N. (2004). Beyond Explanatory Adequacy. In A. Belletti (ed.), Structures and Beyond: The Cartography of Syntactic Structure, Vol. 3 (pp.104 -131). New York: Oxford University Press.

Cinque, G. (1999). Adverbs and Functional Heads: A Cross-linguistic Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fassi Fehri, A. (1993). Issues in the Structure of Arabic Clauses and Words. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Guasti, M. & Rizzi, L. (2002). Agreement and Tense as distinct Syntactic Positions: Evidence From Acquisition. In G. Cinque (ed.), The Structure of DP and IP ¬The Cartography of Syntactic Structures, vol. 1 (pp. 167-194). NewYork: Oxford University Press.

Halila, H. (1992). Subject Specificity Effects in Tunisian Arabic. PhD dissertation, University of Southern California.

Hoyt, F. (2009). Verbal Clause. In M. Eid, Elgibali, A., Woidich, M. & Zaborski, A. (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, vol. IV: Q-Z, 653-659. Brill: Leiden and Boston.

Jouini, K. (2014). Parameters and Micro-parameters in Arabic Sentence Structure, Ph.D.

dissertation, Victoria University of Wellington. Accessible at

http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/handle/10063/3177

Jouini, K. (2018). A Feature-Based Analysis of the Derivation of Word Order and subject-verb Agreement in Arabic Varieties. Arab World English Journal 9 (1), 233-255.

Mohammad, M. A. (1989). The Sentence Structure of Arabic. PhD dissertation, USC Los Angeles, California.

Ouhalla, J. (1991). Functional Categories and Parametric Variation. London: Routledge.

Ouhalla, J. (1993). Negation focus and tense: the Arabic maa and laa. Rivista di Linguistica 5, 275-298.

Rizzi, L. (1982). Issues in Italian Syntax. Dordrecht: Foris.

Rizzi, L. (1997). The fine structure of the left periphery. In L. Haegeman (ed.), Elements of Grammar (pp. 281-337). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Rizzi, L. (2006). On the Form of Chains: Criterial Positions and ECP Effects. In L. Lai-Shen Cheng & N. Corver (eds.), Wh-Movement: Moving On (pp. 97–133). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Rizzi, L. & Shlonsky U. (2007). Strategies of subject extraction. In U. Sauerland & Gärtner, H.-M. (eds.), Interfaces + Recursion = Language? Chomsky’s Minimalism and the View from Syntax-Semantics (pp. 115–160). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Roberts, I. (2010a). A deletion analysis of null subjects. In T. Biberauer et al. (pp. 58-87). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Roberts, I. (2010b). Agreement and Head Movement: Clitics, incorporation, and defective goals. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Roberts, I. & Roussou A. (20020. The Extended Projection Principle as a condition on the tense dependency. In P. Svenonius (ed.), Subjects, Expletives, and the EPP (pp. 125-155). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Roman, A. (1991). De l’accord et du pseudo-accord du féminin en arabe. Annale Islamologiques 25, 27-56.

Shlonsky, U. (1997). Clause Structure and Word Order in Hebrew and Arabic: An Essay in Comparative Semitic Syntax. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shlonsky, U. (2000). Remarks on the complementizer layer of Standard Arabic. In J. Lecarme, Lowenstamm, J. & Shlonsky, U. (eds.), Reasearch in Afroasiatic Grammar (pp. 325- 343). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.10n.6p.1

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.