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Noun Phrase

(3,606 words)

Author(s): Frederick Hoyt
1. Overview The Arabic noun phrase ( tarkīb ismī) is a syntactic constituent consisting of a noun (ism) or verbal noun (maṣdar) and its dependents or modifiers. The Arabic noun phrase has been one of the major preoccupations of researchers studying Arabic syntax from a variety of theoretical and methodological points of view, and a very extensive literature is dedicated to it. General studies of the Arabic noun phrase have been done by Ayoub (1981), Ditters (1992), Fassi Fehri (1993), and Kremers (2003). The greater part of the literature on Arabic noun ph…
Date: 2018-04-01

Polarity

(2,734 words)

Author(s): Frederick Hoyt
The term ‘polarity’ is used for different meanings in linguistics. In connection with the Arabic system of numerals, for example, it is used for gender polarity in the agreement between numerals and counted nouns. In the present entry, it is used for the contrast between negative and positive expressions in a language, whether these are syntactic or morphological. Negative polarity is a property of sentences modified with negative or downward monotonic operators. Negative-polarity items are expr…
Date: 2018-04-01

Verbal Clause

(4,046 words)

Author(s): Frederick Hoyt
1. Introduction The term ‘verbal clause’ ( jumla fiʿliyya) is taken from traditional Arabic grammatical theory, and is used in contrast to nominal clause ( jumla ismiyya). While the status of both terms in contemporary Western linguistic theory is unclear, the verbal clause seems to have elicited less theoretical interest than nominal clauses have, except with relation to agreement phenomena. This entry presents a comparison of two different ways in which the term ‘verbal clause’ has been used, then examines its role in the discussion of word order in Arabic and how it is represe…
Date: 2018-04-01

Specificity

(2,605 words)

Author(s): Frederick Hoyt
1. Specificity in linguistic theory Specificity has been used by linguists in several theoretical traditions to describe a property of noun phrase interpretation. It is most often used in describing the interpretation of indefinite noun phrases, which is the focus of this entry. The term has been used inconsistently and with little precision to describe a number of related but logically distinct notions. An extensive literature in the generative-compositional semantic tradition is devoted to unpacking these different notions, using a var…
Date: 2018-04-01

Verb Phrase

(4,037 words)

Author(s): Frederick Hoyt
  1. Introduction The concept of the verb phrase ( VP) is central to contemporary theoretical approaches to Arabic, and, indeed, to modern syntactic theory in general, with its status as a theoretical construct being controversial. The controversy revolves around what is being claimed by saying that a language ‘has a VP’. The weak claim is simply that in at least some data types, a discrete constituent consisting of a verb stem and its dependents can be identified. In the case of Arabic, as in many langua…
Date: 2018-04-01

Nominal Clauses

(3,680 words)

Author(s): Frederick Hoyt
Nominal clauses in Arabic ( jumal ismiyya) are clauses in which the first constituent is a nominal expression ( mubtadaʾ ‘that which is begun with, inchoative’; ibtidāʾ), of which the remaining subconstituent of the clause (xabar ‘news, announcement’) is predicated. Mubtadaʾ and xabar are translated here as ‘initial Noun Phrase (NP)’ and ‘report’, respectively. The report constituent has two basic types. The first is a complete ‘verbal clause’ containing a pronoun rābiṭ ‘binder, connector’ which ‘resumes’ or is bound by the initial NP, as illustrated in (1) and (8)…
Date: 2018-04-01

Predicate

(3,277 words)

Author(s): Frederick Hoyt
1. Introduction The term ‘ predicate’ (along with the associated terms ‘subject’ and ‘ predication’) has been used for centuries in the Western logical and grammatical traditions to describe the second portion of a bipartite division of a sentence into a subject and as predicate. How predicate and predication are used in contemporary linguistics varies considerably between users and between theoretical frameworks. The parameters of variation include the following: i.The domain of predication: whether predication is defined over sentences, over clauses, or over pr…
Date: 2018-04-01