Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Possessive constructions in Najdi Arabic.
Authors: Alrasheedi, Eisa Sneitan
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis investigates the syntax of possession and agreement in Najdi Arabic (NA, henceforth) with a particular focus on the possession expressed at the level of the DP (Determiner Phrase). Using the main assumptions of the Minimalist Program (Chomsky 1995, and subsequent work) and adopting Abney’s (1987) DP-hypothesis, this thesis shows that the various agreement patterns within the NA DP can be accounted for with the use of a probe/goal agreement operation (Chomsky 2000, 2001). Chapter two discusses the syntax of ‘synthetic’ possession in NA. Possession in NA, like other Arabic varieties, can be expressed synthetically using a Construct State (CS), e.g. kitaab alwalad (book the-boy) ‘the boy’s book’. Drawing on the (extensive) literature on the CS, I summarise its main characteristics and the different proposals for its derivation. However, the main focus of this chapter is on a lesser-investigated aspect of synthetic possession – that is, possessive suffixes, the so-called pronominal possessors, as in kitaab-ah (book-his) ‘his book’. Building on a previous analysis put forward by Shlonsky (1997), this study argues (contra Fassi Fehri 1993), that possessive suffixes should not be analysed as bound pronouns but rather as an agreement inflectional suffix (à la Shlonsky 1997), where the latter is derived by Agree between the Poss(essive) head and the null pronoun within NP. This results in an agreement inflection (a possessive suffix) being spelled-out on Poss°, which shows up ultimately on the possessum as a consequence of the latter’s head movement to Poss°. The chapter concludes with some cross-linguistic data, coming in particular from Finnish, that allow for the same type of analysis. Chapter three is concerned with possession in NA formed analytically by means of agg, the so-called Free State (FS), which has not been previously analysed from a generative perspective. This chapter is primarily concerned with instances where agg shows overt morphological agreement in number and gender with the possessum (e.g. as-sijjaarah agg-at ar-rad d aal ‘the-car.SG.F of-SG.F the-man’). It is argued that agg-possessum agreement obtains under an Agree relation between the possessive marker agg and the possessum DP within its c-command domain, deriving an inflected form of the possessive marker. Several pieces of evidence are given in favour of the proposed analysis. Chapter four discusses another instance of analytic possession, which contains the possessive markers abu and umm (possessive ‘with’). Descriptively, in NA (and other Arabic dialects), the two markers show agreement with the possessor DP: if the possessor is Feminine gender umm ‘with.F’ is obligatorily used and when it is Masculine gender abu ‘with.M’ must be employed. Given the fact that this type of possession has received little or no attention in Arabic, this work provides the first description of these two markers and compares them with the English possessive with as well as the Modern Standard Arabic marker ðuu ‘with’. As for the syntactic derivation, it is argued, along the lines of Levinson (2011), that possessives containing the two markers have the same syntactic structure as their English possessive with counterparts. However, to the extent that the two Arabic markers show agreement with the possessor, unlike English possessive with, a slight modification is needed on the proposal to capture abu and umm agreement facts. It is proposed that the possessor DP in NA is merged lower in the lexical projection PP and not higher in the functional projection (pP), as suggested for English. Finally, chapter five addresses the other main type of possession, i.e. that expressed at the level of the clause, the so-called predicative possession. Predicative possession in NA is mainly formed by the use of the locative preposition ind ‘at’ in constructions like: al-bint ind-ha sijjaarah (the-girl at-her car) ‘the girl has a car’, where the preposition ind behaves like a possessive verb; it is marked with a pronominal possessive suffix which corresponds to the phi-features of the lexical possessor. It is proposed that this suffix attached to ind (and various other categories) is an inflectional agreement marker, which is realized on the preposition as a reflex of an agreement relation established with the possessor. It is also shown that this pattern of agreement in possessive sentences is not a unique property of NA, but rather found in many (un)related languages (cf. Stassen 2009).
Description: Ph. D. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Alrasheedi E 2019.pdfThesis2.11 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
dspacelicence.pdfLicence43.82 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.