Grammatical subjects of Jordanian Arabic: syntactic and discourse functions

Omari, Osama (2011) Grammatical subjects of Jordanian Arabic: syntactic and discourse functions. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This dissertation examines a set of phenomena in Jordanian Arabic (JA) related to the subject and its position, providing an analysis for each within the assumptions of generative grammar, particularly those related to the provocative syntax model (Branigan 2010), and functional grammar (Prince 1999, Owens et. al. 2010, among others). Chapter 2 examines the properties of the preverbal subject and how it is derived. Based on ambiguity tests involving negation and quantifiers, I show that the preverbal DP occupies an A position and is derived by movement. Chapter 3 deals with the embedded lexical subject and the subject clitics that cooccur with it. I argue that the cooccurrence of a subject clitic and a lexical subject is a product of a provocation process. Following Branigan (2010), I propose that the C head in JA is endowed with a provocative feature, which imposes the creation of an external copy of its internal goal projection. The external copy can be identical or non-identical to the original goal projection. I take the non-identical shape of a DP projection to be a pronoun with a deleted NP, in line with the NP-deletion theory (Elbourne 2001 ). Accordingly, when C locates the preverbal lexical subject as a local goal, it creates an external copy of it. This copy merges with C, which derives the 'doubling' of an agreeing clitic and the lexical subject. Since C is provocative, it also has the option to probe for an 'external' copy that is already available. In this case, C probes for the default clitic -uh. I show that probing for the default -uh can be obligatory, as in cases where C cannot reach its internal goal, or optional, where C directly probes for - uh even when with the presence of a 'reachable' internal goal. In this case, we get the 'doubling' of a default clitic and an overt subject. Chapter 4 investigates the variation in overt and null subjects within a functional approach. Specifically, I examine the role of discourse and semantic-pragmatic factors in overt and null subject variation in JA. I show that the favoring of an overt subject is influenced by pragmatic anaphora, antecedent salience in the discourse, and predicate type.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/12289
Item ID: 12289
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 130-140).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: October 2011
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Jordan
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Arabic language--Jordan--Syntax; Arabic language--Jordan--Discourse analysis; Arabic language--Jordan--Grammar

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