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Author: Jamal Ouhalla

Abstract

This article discusses two relatively novel properties of possessive noun phrases in Arabic and explores their implications for existing analyses. First, in some dialects of Moroccan Arabic the genitive preposition shows agreement in number and gender with the possessum to its left in analytic (Free State) noun phrases. Preposition-possessum agreement appears to parallel verb-subject agreement and is to all intent and purposes an instance of predicate-subject agreement. Secondly, in many Arabic varieties inalienable noun phrases are incompatible with the analytic pattern and can only have the synthetic (Construct State) pattern. These two properties are difficult to accommodate under an analysis that assigns a uniform syntactic structure to both alienable and inalienable noun phrases, where the possessum is the head noun and the possessor is its specifier. Instead, they point to an analysis where the two types of noun phrases derive from radically different syntactic structures. While inalienable noun phrases derive from a structure where the inalienable possessum is the head noun and the possessor is its argument, alienable noun phrases derive from a structure along the lines outlined in Den Dikken (2006), where the possessum is the subject and the possessor a predicate complement, and the relationship between the two is necessarily mediated by a relational category that corresponds to the genitive preposition in the analytic pattern. A version of this analysis is adopted here that accounts for additional known properties of analytic and synthetic noun phrases, including their PF interface properties. The latter part builds on the analysis outlined in Ouhalla (2009b) and addresses questions left open there.

In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
Author: Jamal Ouhalla

This article examines the verb ‘need’ in Arabic in light of the decompositional approach proposed in Harves and Kayne (2012) which assumes a Hale and Keyser (1993, 2002)-style analysis whereby transitive ‘need’ derives by incorporation of the noun ‘need’ into a silent possessive verb HAVE. The properties of Arabic ‘need’ are shown to favour the alternative Marantz (1998)-style analysis, whereby the verb ‘need’ and its nominal variant both derive from a common root. On a broader crosslinguistic level, the root-based analysis is shown to account for languages that have transitive possessive ‘have’ and a noun ‘need’ but lack transitive ‘need’ (e.g. French), which are unexpected in the context of the noun-based analysis. Finally, the article sheds light on the critical role of the mechanism of root-extraction out of lexicalised nouns in generating roots necessary for the derivation of verbs.

In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
Author: Jamal Ouhalla

This article aims to make a contribution to the debate concerning the origins of the Moroccan Arabic genitive preposition d(yal) and its implications for the emergence of Moroccan Arabic recently reignited in Heath (2015). The latter sources the preposition to a combination of Late Latin allative and pronouns in the context of a language shift that took place in Roman cities in the Maghreb. This hypothesis is shown to be inconsistent with both the linguistic and historical evidence, which favour the alternative hypothesis that the preposition arose from merger between the Old Romance genitive preposition de/i and the Classical Arabic definite article (ʔ)al (Ouhalla 2009a&b). This development took place in the context of Andalusi Arabic, which emerged in Spain in the ninth and tenth centuries and subsequently spread to Morocco by migration. In addition to outlining further linguistic evidence for the hypothesis, the article highlights the role of diglossia in the emergence of Andalusi Arabic, where Classical Arabic was the High variety that accounted for much of the vocabulary and Iberian Old Romance as the Low variety that accounted for the syntax base.

In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
Author: Jamal Ouhalla

Abstract

The main objective of this article is to outline an account of the evolution of the analytic (Free State) type of possessive noun phrases in Spanish Arabic and the loss of the synthetic (Construct State) type in Shamaliya Arabic, two relatively unknown varieties that are historically related. Possessive noun phrases can vary at the level of Syntax, PF or the Lexicon. Variation at the level of Syntax yields the distinction between the synthetic type and the analytic type. These have the same underlying structure but different derivations determined by the values of an EPP feature associated with Num, the DP-equivalent of clausal T. When Num has the [+EPP] value, it triggers subject-raising of the possessor to Spec, Num leading to the derivation of the synthetic type. When Num has the [−EPP] value, the possessor remains in-situ and consequently triggers the appearance of the genitive preposition. The evolution of the analytic type involves the acquisition of the [−EPP] value and the loss of the synthetic type the loss of the [+EPP] value. Variation at PF involves deletion or not of the definiteness feature/article of the head noun or the possessor in the synthetic type, which yields three logical patterns: [N the-N], [the-N N] and [the-N the-N]. Spanish Arabic had all three patterns, while Moroccan Arabic and other varieties have only the first pattern. Finally, variation at the level of the Lexicon accounts for differences relating to which preposition is used in possessive noun phrases. The Maghreb/Western varieties make use of the genitive preposition, while the Mashreq/Eastern varieties tend to make use of the dative preposition instead.

In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
In: Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
Brill’s Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics is a new peer-reviewed international forum devoted to the descriptive and theoretical study of Afroasiatic languages. The territory of the Afroasiatic family spans a vast area to the South of the Mediterranean, extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Middle East and reaching deep into the heart of Africa. Some of the Afroasiatic languages have been studied for centuries, while others still remain partially or entirely undocumented.

In the course of the second half of the 20th century, the constantly increasing qualitative and quantitative contribution of Afroasiatic languages to the elaboration of linguistic theory has met with considerable attention from the linguistic community. The Journal seeks top-level contributions in phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, comparative and historical linguistics. Its target audience comprises specialists in Afroasiatic languages and general linguists.The online edition offers the option to include sound and video files as well as other datafiles.

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