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Performatives

(1,986 words)

Author(s): Mustafa Mughazy
The motivation for the distinction between performatives and statements is that the former constitute events rather than descriptions of events or states of affairs (Searle 1969, 1971). In other words, the act of uttering a performative is itself the action purported by the speaker. For example, the performative utterance in (1), when issued by a lawyer in the context of a court session, amounts to registering an objection rather than reporting or describing an event of objecting taking place at speech time. (1) ʾana ʾa-ʿtariḍ I 1s-object ‘I object!’ The major difference between per…

Relative Clause

(5,415 words)

Author(s): Mustafa Mughazy
1. Subordination and relative clauses Subordination is a syntactic configuration in which a clause functions as a constituent within the structure of another clause either as an argument (subject or complement) or as a modifier. What distinguishes subordinate clauses from independent (or main) clauses is that the former cannot be used in isolation. For example, the subordinate purpose clause li-yaktuba ‘for him to write’ and ʾan yaktubū ‘that they write’ cannot be used as independent sentences. Even a subordinate relative clause with no relative pronoun cannot be used independ…

Pragmatics

(4,006 words)

Author(s): Mustafa Mughazy
Linguistic pragmatics involves the study of the mechanisms and principles that allow individuals to communicate successfully by recognizing the intentions and beliefs motivating linguistic acts, as well as the strategies speakers use to carry out such acts, i.e. the changes they achieve using language (Mey 1993; Green 1996). Levinson (1983) further narrows the scope of linguistic pragmatics by excluding those aspects of language use that are not reflected in the grammar, such as dialectal feature…

Ellipsis

(1,986 words)

Author(s): Mustafa Mughazy
1. Definition Ellipsis is “a discourse phenomenon, in the sense that the interpretation of the missing constituent sometimes depends on something said in an earlier sentence – possibly even by another speaker” (Sag and Wasaw 1999:313). For example, in (1) the sentential subject of the embedded clause, inni aftaḥ il-bāb ‘that I open the door’, is elided and only the negated predicate remains. The first clause includes an antecedent, which is morphologically, syntactically, and semantically identical to the missing constituent, hence facilitating its interpretation. (1) ḥāwilt in-n…