Marking Mirativity in Syntax: Minimalsit Mechanisms

Murdhy Radad Alshamari, Manal Saleh Alghannam


This paper offers a generative minimalist investigation to the derivation and interpretation of mirativity information in Central Najdi Arabic (CNA), arguing that grammar of CNA morphologically marks mirativity in syntax by means of the discourse particle wara. Implementing minimalist mechanisms (Chomsky 2001), it is shown that wara instantiates a functional, discoursal projection MrvP in the left periphery of the sentence, articulating the feature [Mrv] at the PF-interface. LF-interface analyses demonstrate that [Mrv] on wara is interpretable/valued, while the counterpart on the subject DP that wara marks is uninterpretable/unvalued. Agree between wara and the subject DP creates a PF-chain wara>SubjectClitic>SubjectDP that results in the subject DP being marked with and interpreted mirativity at LF-interface. Further explorations show that movement of the subject DP across wara is only legitimised if the subject DP has a discourse, information structural feature beyond [Mrv]. Evidence for this claim comes from the fact that when wara marks the subject DP with mirativity, the subject DP remains in situ. Thus, on minimalist empirical groundings, movement is argued to be motivated by interpretive reasons beyond mirativity. Further analyses show that Agree between wara and subject is of mutual manner; wara u-[φ]-probes the subject goal, while the goal seeks valuation of u-[Mrv] on it (Alshamari 2017).


Discourse Particle, Mirativity, Agree, Movement, F-chain, Information Structure.

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