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Title: Compounding in modern standard Arabic, Jordanian Arabic and English
Authors: Altakhaineh, Abdel Rahman Mitib Salim
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This study aims to identify types of compounds in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Jordanian Arabic (JA) by applying the cross-linguistic criteria for compoundhood discussed in the relevant literature, with a special focus on English. These criteria -- orthographic, phonological, syntactic and semantic in nature -- have been proposed to make a distinction between compounds and phrases. The analysis reveals that the most reliable cross-linguistic criteria to distinguish between phrases and compounds in MSA, JA and English are adjacency and referentiality. With regard to the former criterion, no intervening elements can be inserted between the head and the non-head of compounds, whilst such insertion is allowed in phrases. With regard to the latter criterion, the non-head of a phrase is always referential, whereas the non-head of a compound is normally non-referential. Other criteria have been found to be partially applicable, e.g. compositionality, possibilities for modification and coordination, and free pluralisation of the non-head. In this study, I also suggest two reliable criteria that are exclusive to Arabic, or potentially Semitic languages in general. The first criterion is the appearance/absence of the possessive marker li-/la ‘for/of’ when the first element is definite. The second criterion deals with the appearance/absence of the possessive marker li-/la ‘for/of’ when the first element is preceded by a cardinal number. In applying the various criteria, several properties of compounding in MSA and JA are examined in detail, such as stress assignment, the behaviour of serial verbs and V + V compounds, headedness, and types of compounds based on Scalise and Bisetto’s (2009) classification. With respect to stress assignment, analysis shows that the default position of stress in both N + N compounds and phrases is on the first element. Concerning serial verbs and V + V compounds, the analysis shows that, although the distinction between them is not always clear-cut, V + V compounds are different from serial verbs with respect to the adjacency criterion. With regard to headedness, my study confirms that compounding in Arabic is predominantly left-headed. Regarding types of compounds, the Arabic data shows the usefulness of Scalise and Bisetto’s (2009) classification, which originally was proposed on the basis of data from 23 languages, excluding Arabic. Finally, the study proposes a definition for compounds that may be applicable cross-linguistically and concludes with recommendations for further research.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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