Temporal/locative inversion in Arabic

Open access


This research scrutinizes the observation that when the thematic subject is extracted (i.e. questioned) in Jordanian Arabic, temporal/locative inversion may occur. Temporal inversion occurs irrespective of the verb being transitive or intransitive, whereas locative inversion is limited to contexts with an unaccusative verb. This research argues that this distinction correlates with the base-generation of temporal/locative adjuncts; temporal adjuncts are base-generated adjoining to TP, whereas locatives are base-generated adjoining to VP. Temporal but not locative adjuncts resist fronting with VP, demand the use of a tense copula (or a tensed verb), and are not subject to deletion along with the lexical verb. With the assumption that Spec, SubjP must be filled with a non-silent copy due to the effects of the so-called Subject Criterion (Rizzi and Shlonsky 2007), a temporal or locative adjunct, if any, fills this position instead of the extracted thematic subject. Given its low position, a locative adjunct is accessible to Subj0 only when there is no v*P, hence the account of the correlation between locative inversion and the type of the verb. Furthermore, this research explores the existence of temporal/locative inversion in other two Arabic dialects (Najdi Arabic and Iraqi Arabic), arguing for a micro-parametric view of this strategy across Arabic dialects.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Abels K. and A. Neeleman. 2006. Universal 20 without the LCA. (Ms. University of Tomso and University College London.)

  • Algryani A. 2012. The syntax of ellipsis in Libyan Arabic: A generative analysis of sluicing VP ellipsis stripping and negative contrast. (PhD dissertation Newcastle University.)

  • Alshamari M. and M. Jarrah. 2016. “A minimalist-based approach to phrasal verb movement in North Hail Arabic”. International Journal of English Linguistics 6. 24-37.

  • Bache C. 1982. “Aspect and Aktionsart: Towards a semantic distinction”. Journal of linguistics 18(1). 57-72.

  • Balushi R. 2011. Case in Standard Arabic: The untraveled paths. (PhD dissertation University of Toronto.)

  • Benmamoun E. 1999. “Arabic morphology: The central role of the imperfective.” Lingua 108. 175-201.

  • Benmamoun E. 2000. The feature structure of functional categories: A comparative study of Arabic dialects. Oxford Oxford University Press

  • Cardinaletti A. 2004. “Towards a cartography of subject positions”. In: Rizzi L. (ed.) The structure of CP and IP. New York: Oxford University Press. 115-165.

  • Cheng L.L. 1997. On the typology of wh-questions. New York: Garland Chomsky N. 2000. “Minimalist inquiries: The framework”. In: Martin M. and J.

  • Uriagereka (eds.) Step by step: Essays in minimalist syntax in honor of Howard Lasnik. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. 89-156.

  • Chomsky N. 2001. “Derivation by Phase”. In: Kenstowicz M. (ed) Ken Hale: A life in language. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. 1-52.

  • Chomsky N. 2007. “Approaching UG from below”. In: Gartner H. and U. Sauerland (eds.) Interfaces + recursion = language? Chomsky’s minimalism and the view from syntax-semantics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 1-30.

  • Chomsky N. 2008. “On phases”. In: Freidin R. C.P. Otero and M.L. Zubizarreta (eds.) Foundational issues in linguistic theory. Essays in honor of Jean-Roger Vergnaud. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. 291-321.

  • Cinque G. 1999. Adverbs and functional heads. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Comrie B. 1976. Aspect: An introduction to the study of verbal aspect and related problems (vol. 2). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Eisele J. 1988. The syntax and semantics of tense aspect and time reference in Cairene Arabic. (PhD dissertation University of Chicago.)

  • Ernst T. 2001. The syntax of adjuncts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Fassi Fehri A. 1993. Issues in the structure of Arabic clauses and words. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  • Fassi Fehri A. 2003. “Verbal plurality transitivity and causativity”. In: Lecarme J. (ed.) Research in Afroasiatic grammar II: Selected papers from the Fifth Conference on Afroasiatic Languages Paris. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 151-185.

  • Fassi Fehri A. 2012. Key features and parameters in Arabic grammar. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Fernandez J. 2009. “On the composite nature of subject islands: A phase-based approach”. SKY Journal of Linguistics 22. 91-138.

  • Frey W. 2000. “Syntactic requirement on adverbs”. In: Fabricius-Hansen C. E. Lang and C. Maienborn (eds.) Approaching the grammar of adjuncts (ZASPIL 17). Belin: ZAS. 107-134.

  • Gad R.F.G.A. 2011. A syntactic study of wh-movement in Egyptian Arabic within the Minimalist Program. (PhD dissertation University of Leeds.)

  • Grimshaw J. 1990. Argument structure. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

  • Jarrah M. 2017. “A criterial freezing approach to subject extraction in Jordanian Arabic”. Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique 62(3). 411-448.

  • Kayne R. 1994. The antisymmetry of syntax. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

  • Koppen M. van and J. Rooryck. 2008. Resolving resolution: underspecification and the law of coordination of likes. (Ms. Utrecht University and Leiden University.)

  • Kortobi I. 2002. “Gapping and VP-deletion in Moroccan Arabic”. In: Ouhalla J. and U. Shlonsky (eds.) Themes in Arabic and Hebrew syntax. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 217-240.

  • Koster J. 1986. The relation between pro-drop scrambling and verb movements. (Ms. Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.) Muller G. 2011. Constraints on displacement: A phase-based approach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

  • Ojea Lopez A.I. 1994. “Adverbios y categorias funcionales en espanol”. Revista Espanola de Linguistica 24. 393-416.

  • Rivero M.L. 1992. “Adverb incorporation and the syntax of adverbs in Modern Greek”. Linguistics and philosophy 15. 289-331.

  • Rizzi L. 1990. Relativized minimality. Cambridge MA: MIT Press

  • Rizzi L. 1997. “The fine structure of the left periphery”. In: Haegeman L. (ed.) Elements of grammar. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 281-337.

  • Rizzi L. 2005. “On some properties of subjects and topics”. In: Bruge L. G. Giusti N. Munaro W. Schweikert and G. Turano (eds.) Proceedings of the XXX Incontro di Grammatica Generativa Cafoscarina Venice Italy.

  • Rizzi L. 2010. “On some properties of criterial freezing”. In: Panagiotidis E.P. (ed.) The complementizer phrase. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 17-32.

  • Rizzi L. 2013. “Locality”. Lingua 130. 169-186.

  • Rizzi L. 2014. “Some consequences of criterial freezing”. In: Svenonius P. (ed.) Functional structure from top to toe: The cartography of syntactic structures. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 19-46.

  • Rizzi L. and U. Shlonsky. 2007. “Strategies of subject extraction”. In: Gartner H. and U. Sauerland (eds.) Interfaces + recursion = language? Chomsky’s minimalism and the view from syntax-semantics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 115-160.

  • Shlonsky U. 1997. Clause structure and word order in Hebrew and Arabic: An essay in comparative Semitic syntax. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Shlonsky U. 2002. “Constituent questions in Palestinian Arabic”. In: Ouhalla J. and U.

  • Shlonsky (eds.) Themes in Arabic and Hebrew syntax. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 137-155.

  • Soltan U. 2011. “On issues of Arabic syntax: An essay in syntactic argumentation”. Brill’s Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics 3. 236-280.

  • Stepanov A. 2001. Cyclic domains in syntactic theory. (PhD dissertation University of Connecticut.)

  • Stroik T. 1990. “Adverbs as V-sisters.” Linguistic Inquiry 21. 654-661.

  • Sulaiman M. 2016. The syntax of wh-questions in Syrian Arabic. (PhD dissertation Newcastle University.)

  • Vendler Z. 1967. Linguistics and philosophy. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press.

  • Wexler K. and P. Culicover. 1980. Formal principles of language acquisition. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

  • Williams E. 1978. “Across the board rule application”. Linguistic Inquiry 9. 31-43.

Journal information
Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 240 133 2
PDF Downloads 118 73 2