Open access


The formation of future markers from distinct lexical sources or from similar sources under specific circumstances follows universal pathways. It is standardly agreed that grammaticalization is a process which encompasses a range of changes which involve desemanticization (loss of meaning), decategorialization (loss of categorical features), generalization (use extended to new contexts), and phonetic reduction. The paper assumes that the b-prefix derives from two distinct lexical sources: volitional (encoding future) and prepositional (encoding indicative mood, progressive, and habitual aspect), and that the morphological overlap of these two prefixes is a mere coincidence. The paper will concentrate on the development of the future marker (b-prefix) from a verbal noun of volition in Syrian Arabic. The main goal is to explicate the nature of the grammaticalization paths of the b-future in Syrian Arabic based on synchronic data. The paper posits that the verbal noun of volition has undergone semantic, structural, and phonological changes.

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

  • Al-Khawalda Mohammad. 2000. “The Expression of Futurity in the Arabic and English Languages.” In: Ibra­him et al. 2000: 70-76.

  • Alkhuli Muhammad Ali. 1997. Comparative Linguistics: English and Arabic. Jordan: Daralfalah.

  • Al-Najjar Balkees. 1991. “Grammaticalization of Lexical Markers in Kuwaiti Arabic.” Folia Linguistica 25 665-674.

  • Aitchison Jean. 2004. Language Change: Progress or Decay. Third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Badawi Elsaid Carter Michael G. Gully Adrian. 2004. Modern Written Arabic: A Comprehensive Grammar. London-New York: Routledge.

  • Bellamy James A. (ed.). 1990. Studies in Near Eastern Culture and History in Memory Ernest T. Abdel-Massih. Ann Arbor Michigan: University of Michigan.

  • Brustad Kristen E. 2000. The Syntax of Spoken Arabic. Washington D. C.: Georgetown University Press.

  • Bybee Joan. 2003. “Mechanisms of Change in Grammaticization: The Role of Frequency.” In: Janda & Joseph 2003: 602-623.

  • Bybee Joan Dahl Östen. 1989. “The Creation of Tense and Aspect Systems in the Languages of the World.” Studies in Language 13(1) 51-103.

  • Bybee Joan Pagluica William. 1985. “Cross-linguistic Comparison and the Development of Grammatical Meaning.” In: Fisiak 1985: 59-83.

  • Bybee Joan Pagliuca William. 1987. “The Evolution of Future Meaning.” In: Ramat et al. 1987: 109-122.

  • Bybee Joan Pagliuca William Perkins Revere D. 1991. “Back to the Future.” In: Traugott & Heine 1991 vol. II: 17-58.

  • Bybee Joan Perkins Revere Pagliuca William. 1994. The Evolution of Grammar: Tense Aspect andModality in the Languages of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Bybee Joan. 2007. Frequency of Use and the Organization of Language. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Campbell Lyle. 1998. Historical Linguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

  • Campbell Lyle. 2001. “Grammaticalization: A Critical Assessment.” (Special issue of Language Sciences 23).

  • Comrie Bernard. 1976. Aspect. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Comrie Bernard (ed.). 1987. The World’s Major Languages. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Cowan David. 1964. An Introduction to Modern Literary Arabic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Cowell Mark W. 2005 [1964]. A Reference Grammar ofSyrian Arabic. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.

  • Esseesy Mohsen. 2007. “Grammaticalization.” In: Versteegh et al. 2007 vol. 2: 191-198.

  • Fisiak Jacek (ed.). 1985. Historical Semantics Historical Word Formation. The Hague: Mouton.

  • Greenberg Joseph (ed.). 1978. Universals of Human Language vol. III. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

  • Hasan Abbas. 1993. Al-Nahw al-wafi. Vol. 4. Cairo: Dar al-Ma'arif [in Arabic].

  • Haspelmath Martin. 1999. “Why is Grammaticalization Irreversible?” Linguistics 37(1) 43-68.

  • Heine Bernd Reh Mechthild. 1984. Grammaticalization and Reanalysis in African Languages. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag.

  • Heine Bernd Claudi Ulrike Hünnemeyer Friederike. 1991. Grammaticalization: A Conceptual Framework. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

  • Holes Clive. 1990. Gulf Arabic. London: Routledge.

  • Holes Clive. 1995. Modern Arabic. London: Longman.

  • Holes Clive. 2000. Dialect Culture andSociety in Eastern Arabia. Vol. 1: Glossary (Handbuch der Orientalistik). Leiden-Boston: Brill.

  • Holes Clive. 2004. Modern Arabic: Structures Functions and Varieties. Washington: Georgetown University Press.

  • Hopper Paul J. 1991. “On Some Principles of Grammaticalization.” In: Traugott & Heine 1991 vol. I: 17-36.

  • Hopper Paul J. Traugott Elizabeth Closs. 2003. Grammaticalization. Second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Ibrahim Zaynab M. Aydelott Sabiha T. Kassabgy Nagwa (eds.). 2000. Diversity in Language. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press.

  • Janda Richard D. Joseph Brian D. (eds.). 2003. Handbook of Historical Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Johnstone Tomas M. 1967. Eastern Arabian Dialect Studies. London: Oxford University Press.

  • Joseph Brian D. 1983. The Synchrony and Diachrony of the Balkan Infinitive. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Kaye Allan S. 1987. “Arabic." In: Comrie 1987: 664-685.

  • Khalil Aziz M. 1999. A Contrastive Grammar of English and Arabic. Jordan: Jordan Book Centre.

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.22

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.124
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.828

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 197 112 5
PDF Downloads 126 89 2