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Title: Ditransitives in Iraqi Arabic and English
Authors: Al-Janabi, Raed
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis mainly investigates ditransitive constructions with lexical as well as pronominal objects in two historically unrelated languages: Iraqi Arabic, a poorly documented language, and English (including British English dialects). The aim is to obtain insight into possible crosslinguistic similarities and differences in the ditransitive constructions, which is a controversial issue in generative theory, and thus, contribute to the theory of argument structure, Case, and agreement, particularly in relation to pronouns. It shows that Iraqi Arabic provides a rich environment for the study of ditransitives as it exhibits a wide variety of ditransitive patterns. The thesis will first present the descriptive facts of ditransitives of Iraqi Arabic which covers word order options, Case-marking, and passives. Then, it will review the various current approaches on ditransitives within a generative theory of grammar. A special focus will be given to the debate about the nature of the relationship between DOCs and PDCs, in particular whether it is derivational or projectional. Later, the thesis will introduce the reader to the theory of pronouns where a distinction will be made between the terms strong, weak pronouns, affixes and clitics as well as discussing their syntactic properties. It will address the question regarding the derivation of pronominal clitics, whether they are X°s or XPs, i.e. whether they are a wordlevel or phrase-level category. In addition, Shlonsky’ (1997) and Roberts’ (2010) theories of clitics will be presented. A close investigation and comparison of pronominal objects in Arabic, particularly Iraqi Arabic, and English is expected to shed more light on the syntax of pronominal objects in general, including the distinction between strong, weak and clitic pronouns, and pronominal objects of ditransitive verbs in particular. Following Holmberg et al (2018), it will be argued that the ditransitive predicate in the DOC contains, in addition to v and V, an applicative head, Appl which assigns a role to the Recipient, while V assigns a role to the Theme. There is cross-linguistic variation regarding how the two objects are ‘Case-licensed’. I will argue that, in Iraqi Arabic and Standard English, v assigns Case to the Recipient while Appl assigns Case to the Theme. In some British English dialects, on the other side, v may assign Case either to the Recipient or Theme. This is due to flexible licensing by Appl in these dialects as Appl may license either the Recipient or the Theme. In the PDC, on the other hand, v will assign Case to the Theme while the Goal gets Case from a preposition. In addition to the Appl attested in the DOC which I will term Appl 1, I will argue that Iraqi Arabic exhibits another Applicative head which I will term Appl 2. The latter introduces a iv Benefactive argument in clauses containing such arguments. What is special about Iraqi Arabic is that these Appl heads can be realized as the special form, -iya in the language when the following object is a pronoun. In analyzing pronominal objects, I will argue that pronominal objects in Iraqi Arabic are syntactic clitics. I will adopt a version of the theory proposed by Shlonsky (1997) where the pronominal clitics of Arabic are derived by Agree between v and a pronominal object, with incorporation in the sense of Roberts (2010). According to Roberts (2010), the pronominal clitic is a spell-out of agreement between v and a defective object. I will claim that English pronominal contracted objects are syntactic clitics, too, derived in a similar way. It will be argued that the two languages under investigation are more similar than what traditionally is thought to be the case especially as regards exhibiting syntactic clitics. The similarity between the two languages can be seen especially in the DOC construction in that both languages allow the DOC with a defective Recipient and full DP-Theme. Furthermore, both disallow the DOC with a full DP-Recipient and a defective Theme. Moreover, both languages allow the DOC with a defective Recipient and a defective Theme. In addition, both languages exhibit the DOC with two full-DP objects as well as the PDC with lexical or pronominal objects. Still, there are differences in that while some British English dialects allow the pattern, she gave it’im/John where the Theme is defective, and the Recipient is defective or a full-DP object, Iraqi Arabic disallow this construction. The flexibility of Appl 1 to agree with either the Recipient or the Theme attested in some British English dialects is not found in Iraqi Arabic as the latter allows Appl1 to agree only with the Theme in the DOC. The implication here will be that while the unvalued features of v can be valued only by the Recipient in Iraqi Arabic, it can be valued either by the Recipient or Theme in some British English dialects. Another difference to be pointed out between the two languages is that while Iraqi Arabic exhibits Appl1 and Appl 2, British English dialects exhibits only Appl1. Earlier work on a range of grammatical structures has shown the benefits of detailed crosslinguistic comparison. This dissertation adds to this body of work and further confirms its value through the results achieved from a comparison of ditransitives in English and Iraqi Arabic.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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