Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number1 March 2021 Pp.325-338
The Syntax of Multiple Determination in Arabic:
An anti- residual relative clause/close-apposition account
Saleh Jarallah AlQahtani
Department of Linguistics and Translation Studies
College of Languages and Translation
King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Received: 1/31/2021 Accepted: 2/22/2021 Published:3/24/2021
This paper aims to give an account of the multiple determination (determiner spreading) phenomenon in Arabic. Determiner spreading is the syntactic representation and phonological realization of multiple determiners within the same determiner phrase. As a cross-linguistic phenomenon, determiner spreading has been investigated in other languages (e.g., Scandinavian and Greek); different accounts have been proposed. For Scandinavian languages, determiner spreading has been analyzed as a representation of different semantic interpretations. As far as Greek is concerned, some analyses have been proposed; however, two prominent ones have received considerable attention in the literature: (i) a residue of a reduced relative clause and (ii) an instantiation of close appositions. Contrary to those analyses, this paper claims that none of the two analyses is suitable for Arabic; thus, a language-specific analysis is required. To analyze determiner spreading in Arabic, the current paper posits the following research question: What is the linguistic purpose of the multiple determiners found in Arabic determiner phrases? Answering the research question, the paper claims that, in addition to its indispensable role in establishing agreement between nouns and adjectives within the Arabic determiner phrase, determiner spreading demarcates syntactic and semantic phrase boundaries. The paper takes Minimalist Program and Distributed Morphology as a theoretical framework to argue that attributive adjectives are projection of an agreement phrase headed by the definite article ʔal or by the indefinite phonological marker `nunation: -n’. This proposal requires no syntactic movements in the syntax proper. The ultimate linear order is achieved in the phonological components.
Keywords: Arabic, close apposition, demarcation, determiner phrases, determiner spreading,
Cite as: (2021). The Syntax of Multiple Determination in Arabic: An anti- residual relative clause/close-apposition account
Arab World English Journal, 12 (1) 325-338 .
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