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Title: Event phrase and the syntax of TMA verbs in Kuwaiti Arabic
Authors: Alotaibi, Bashayer Abdullah
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis investigates the syntax of various verbs in Kuwaiti Arabic which realise functional heads encoding Tense, Aspect and Modality, in addition to being used as lexical verbs. It investigates some fundamental issues such as the markedness of the perfective and imperfective verbal forms with respect to Tense and Aspect, and, the aspectual and temporal properties of the active participle form, which is generally considered a nominal category. This study incorporates the Event Phrase hypothesis building on Cowper (1999), Borer (2005), Ramchand (2008) and Travis (2010) and inspired from event-semantics (e.g. Davidson 1967, Higginbotham 1985 and Parsons 1990). EventP is a functional projection in the syntax of the clause that relates to the eventive argument (the Davidsonian argument). However, the details of how this phrase functions syntactically have not been precisely described, especially for Arabic. This research aims to clarify the functions of EventP based on data from KA. I argue that the EventP is a key ingredient in the syntactic representation of the clause structure. It relates to the distinction between eventive and non-eventive predicates, or the Individual-level and Stage-level predicates. Furthermore, I argue that analysing sentences in Arabic as eventive or non-eventive can account for a number of puzzling phenomena in the behaviour of verbal and non-verbal predicates. Some of these phenomena include: the null present tense copula; the mixed nominal and verbal behaviours of the active participle; the derivational gap with verbs such as yiʃbah ‘resemble’ and yigrab ‘relate to’; the varying temporal and aspectual readings of the imperfective depending on the verb class. An example of this is that the Achievement verbs resist the present tense and the progressive reading. I present an analysis of EventP that can account for these phenomena. Furthermore, I argue that analysing the predicates as eventive or non-eventive (following Adger and Ramchand 2003) allows for a more consistent generalisation of the functions of the TMA verbs discussed in this thesis, namely the auxiliary verb kaan ‘be.PAST’, the inceptive verb gaam ‘get up.INITIATE ’ and the durative verb gaʕad ‘sit.CONTINUE’. I show that it is possible to generalise over the functions of TMA verbs in relation to eventive sentences regardless of whether they have verbal or non-verbal predicates.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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