Arabic adjectival phrases: an agree-based approach

Assiri, Ahmad I. (2011) Arabic adjectival phrases: an agree-based approach. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The main objective of this thesis is to account for the agreement (a)symmetries between nouns and the adjectives to which they relate in various adjective-containing structures in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), where agreement includes phi-features (i.e., [Number] and [Gender]), Case, and definiteness. The investigation of such (a)symmetries of agreement raises some a number of theoretical issues and poses challenges to various syntactic frameworks. The investigation provides an Agree-based approach to the analysis of Arabic Adjectival Phrases (Aps) by reconciling earlier approaches to the syntactic process of Agree. Specifically, it assumes Chomsky’s (2005, 2008) Feature-Inheritance model of Agree, and adopts certain aspects of Agree developed in the works of Pesetsky and Torrego (2004, 2007). -- The developed approach argues for the existence of two syntactic processes Scan and Case-Reservation (Case-R), which are proved to be essential for the Agree relation established between phasal Probes (e.g., adjectival aP) and their Goals. Scan establishes links between lexical items, thus allowing these items to share features. Case-R, on the other hand, prevents a nominal, pronominal, or adjectival element which has participated in an Agree relation from receiving another Case value. -- The investigation of the data show that the close association as well as the simultaneity of valuation between Case and phi-features (as proposed in Chomsky’s work) must be reconsidered, for phi- and Case features operate independently. This has implications for how we view the features present on adjective from the numeration. As far as phi-features, the investigation shows that, depending on the syntactic structure they appear in, there are three type of adjectives in MSA. Adjectives in the first type come from the lexicon with empty phi-features (i.e., they have no phi-values for the features [Number] and [Gender]), which must receive these values in order for the derivation to converge. Adjectives in the second type come with only one valued phi-feature (i.e., has a value for the feature [Number]), but no value for the [Gender] feature. The third type of adjective comes from the lexicon with valued phi-features.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10105
Item ID: 10105
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 381-396).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: 2011
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Arabic language--Adjectivals; Arabic language--Grammar; Arabic language--Agreement; Asymmetry (Linguistics)

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