Event Nominalizations in French and Modern Standard Arabic: A Parallel

in Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
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What the comparison between event nominalizations in French and Modern Standard Arabic reveals, is a fundamental similarity concerning the concept of what an event is, and what the result of an event can be. In this article, we show first that the two syntactic types of nominalizations described in the literature exist in Arabic as well as in French with parametric differences, mainly due to the fact that Arabic deverbal nouns retain more and stronger verbal features than their French counterparts. Nevertheless, the conceptual distinction between what we call “bound” and “free” event is made in the two languages. Our decision to treat result nominals at the end of the article relies on the fact we establish, that they are built on complex (and not simple, as often argued in the literature) event nominals, in the same way in the two languages, and with the same two possible interpretations (creation by modification or representation vs. “pure” creation) depending on the meaning of the verbal root.

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This is what Melloni (2010) seems to suggest when she says: “Verbs in this class lexicalize events that bring about a modification in / into an existing object by addition or substraction of material, breaking or fracturing of the referent of the patient / theme, etc.”. This could also explain why nouns of that class appear mostly in the plural.

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