Arab World English Journal ( September 2019) Theses ID 244 Pp. 1- 155
The Expression of Indefiniteness in English and Arabic: A Contrastive Study
Inam Ismael Taher
Department of English, College of Basic Education
University of Diyala, Iraq
Author: Inam Ismael Taher
Thesis Title: The Expression of Indefiniteness in English and Arabic: A Contrastive Study
Subject/major: Linguistics / Grammar
Institution: Department of English, University of Baghdad
Degree: MA in Linguistics
Year of award: 2005
Supervisor: Prof. Kadhim Haidar Al – Jawadi, Ph.D.
KeyWords: articles, definiteness, contrastive study, indefiniteness, nouns, pragmatics, semantics, syntax
Indefiniteness is a semantic feature expressed by grammatical devices to be used linguistically depending on pragmatic factors. So, the present study deals with indefiniteness syntactically, semantically and pragmatically. These levels are related to each other and it is not easy to draw lines between them. The study aims at (1)Pointing out how the concept of indefiniteness is expressed grammatically in English and Arabic, and show the role of articles in expressing the concept.(2)Showing the syntactic, semantic and pragmatic uses of the indefinite expression in English and Arabic.(3)Identifying the similarity and difference between the two languages at the syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic levels which may help to get a common core that contributes to the belief in the existence of language universals. The procedures followed in this study include an introduction about the concept of indefiniteness, and a brief survey of indefiniteness in thirty-one languages to show how this concept is expressed in them. Then, indefiniteness in English and Arabic is dealt with at the syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic levels. This is followed by a contrastive analysis to point out the similarities and differences between the two languages.
The study has come to the conclusion that, in English, the indefinite feature exists in the noun, not in the article, and the article has a syntactic function rather than a semantic one. The study shows also that, semantically, indefiniteness in English and Arabic is almost the same, and its function is internal to the language system. Syntactically and pragmatically, indefiniteness in Arabic is more powerful and active than it is in English. Syntactically, the indefinite item is obligatory in certain positions to perform different functions. Pragmatically, the indefinite item acquires additional meaning from the context in which it occurs.
Cite as: Taher, I. I. (2005). The Expression of Indefiniteness in English and Arabic: A Contrastive Study. Department of English, University of Baghdad (Master Thesis). Retrieved from Arab World English Journal (ID Number: 244. September 2019,1-155 . DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/th.244