AWEJ Volume.3 Number.4, 2012                                                                                                   pp. 36 – 57

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Dependency Relations in the Syntactic Structure of Tunisian Arabic

Kemel Jouini
Victoria University of Wellington
Wellington, New Zealand


This paper deals with facets of the derivation and representation of sentences in Tunisian Arabic (TA), a Null Subject Language (NSL). The focus of investigation is on the dependency relations that make it possible to have sentences that are mainly the result of Merge and insertion/deletion processes in an Agree-, Phase-theoretic framework of assumptions (Chomsky 2001, 2004). These Merge processes also include movement (the operation Move as part of Merge) for the satisfaction of the EPP (Extended Projection Principle – namely, every sentence must have a subject) at the interface between syntax and discourse. Central to the EPP-feature driven movement analysis is the assumption that morphological rules operate first pre-syntactically, at vocabulary selection in the Numeration, and have post-syntactic effects, i.e. at Phonetic Form (PF), without affecting Logical Form (LF) representations (Roberts 2010a,b; Holmberg 2010). As in Miyagawa’s (2010, pp. 5, 9) agreement approach to the EPP, not only are Merge and Move undertaken as a single syntactic operation – where elements projected onto the syntax are Merged and are then reprojected in a second-Merge operation – but also Move and the relation Agree are no longer distinguishable.

Keywords: Probe-goal, Spec-head, EPP, feature-driven, pro