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Arabic Language and Linguistics

Reem Bassiouney

Publication Year: 2012

Arabic, one of the official languages of the United Nations, is spoken by more than half a billion people around the world and is of increasing importance in today's political and economic spheres. The study of the Arabic language has a long and rich history: earliest grammatical accounts date from the 8th century and include full syntactic, morphological, and phonological analyses of the vernaculars and of Classical Arabic. In recent years the academic study of Arabic has become increasingly sophisticated and broad. This state-of-the-art volume presents the most recent research in Arabic linguistics from a theoretical point of view, including computational linguistics, syntax, semantics, and historical linguistics. It also covers sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, and discourse analysis by looking at issues such as gender, urbanization, and language ideology. Underlying themes include the changing and evolving attitudes of speakers of Arabic and theoretical approaches to linguistic variation in the Middle East.

Published by: Georgetown University Press

Series: Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics series

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1


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pp. v-vi


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p. vii-vii

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pp. viii-ix

The Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics (GURT) has been held since 1949, placing it among the most long-standing language and linguistics conferences in the United States. GURT began as a small gathering for researchers in language studies to share their current work and has gradually grown to become...

Transliteration Conventions

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p. x-x

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pp. xi-xiv

This volume collects fifteen papers that represent the state of the art of research on the Arabic language in its many forms. Part I of the book, the first seven chapters, describes aspects of the Arabic language from a theoretical point of view, including computational linguistics, syntax, semantics, and historical linguistics. Part II , the remaining eight chapters, describes Arabic applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, and...

Part I: Theoretical and Computational Linguistics

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1. Negation in Moroccan Arabic: Scope and Focus

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pp. 3-16

Standard sentential negation in Moroccan Arabic (MA) is marked with both elements ma- and -ʃ (or its variant -ʃi). According to the contexts, these elements can be split in a discontinuous form or merged in a continuous form. For example, in direct assertions, the discontinuous form surrounds a verbal predicate (1) or a quasi-verbal...

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2. On the Syntax and Semantics of Arabic Universal Quantification

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pp. 17-34

This chapter investigates the syntax and semantics of Arabic universal quantification from three different perspectives. The first one is the transformational approach that considers the Arabic universal quantifier kull and its two different structures, which we call the unmarked “NPadjQ” and the marked “FQ,” as base-generated and that the...

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3. Statistical and Symbolic Paradigms in Arabic Computational Linguistics

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pp. 35-60

With the inception of the digital age and, in particular, the widespread adoption of the Internet as a communication tool and as a medium for information exchange, the amount of information available to the public has grown exponentially, although the tools for processing and extracting meaning from this enormous body of information have only grown linearly. To address these pressing needs, computational linguists...

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4. Raising in Standard Arabic: Backward, Forward, and None

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pp. 61-78

Standard Arabic (SA) is a verb-initial, verb–subject–object (VSO) language in which preverbal subjects are also allowed, producing subject–verb–object (SVO) structures. As sentences (1) and (2) demonstrate, the verb shows partial agreement in gender (and probably person) in VSO structures (1a, b), but it shows full agreement in person...

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5. Construct State Nominals as Semantic Predicates

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pp. 79-98

The Semitic construct state nominal (idaafa in Arabic1 or smixoot in Hebrew; henceforth, “the construct”) has received considerable attention in the syntactic literature and has recently regained popularity in the work of, for example, Borer (2008), Choueiri (2008), and Danon (2008), with key contributions in semantic work by Dobrovie-Sorin (2000, 2002, 2005) and Heller (2002). An example of the construct...

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6. On Licensing Wh-Scope: Wh-Questions in Egyptian Arabic Revisited

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pp. 99-114

An argument wh-phrase in Egyptian Arabic (EA) questions may surface either in situ in its argument position, as in (1a), or ex situ in a left-peripheral position associated with a resumptive pronoun, as in (1b):1...

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7. The Notion of “Complete” and “Incomplete” Verbs in Early Arabic Grammatical Theory: Kāna and Its Sisters

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pp. 115-126

Contemporary Arab grammarians are in agreement that verbs known as kāna and its sisters are considered to be افعال ناقصة ʾafʿāl nāqiṣa “incomplete verbs,” because they do not indicate all elements of افعال تامة ʾafʿāl tāmma “complete verbs.” Verbs inherently indicate an action occurring at a specific time, and therefore the lack of one of...

Part II: Sociolinguistics and Applied Linguistics

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8. Women and Politeness on Egyptian Talk Shows

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pp. 129-136

This chapter examines assertiveness techniques, such as interruption and floor controlling, by women on Egyptian talk shows. The data consist of fifteen hours of talk shows. The analysis includes five talk shows. Two are exclusive to one group, males or females, and not another. Note that all the participants are in the same age group...

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9. Bonjour, ça va? Labas 'ale-ik? French and Arabic in Casablanca

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pp. 137-144

This chapter focuses on the analysis of the forms of address in Morocco, especially with regard to salutations and well-wishing formulas, from a sociolinguistic point of view. Describing the system of forms of address within this theoretical framework means paying attention not only to the traditional linguistic structure but also to the social...

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10. Nominalization in Arabic Discourse: A Genre Analysis Perspective

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pp. 145-156

This chapter investigates the functions of nominalization in Arabic discourse with a particular focus on legal genres. Nominalization is “the process via which a finite verbal clause . . . is converted into a noun phrase” (Givón 2009, 6). For example, the sentence “She knows mathematics extensively” can be converted into the noun...

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11. The Elusiveness of Luġa Wusṭā—or, attempting to Catch Its “True Nature”

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pp. 157-168

In this chapter I reflect on the status of research on luġa wusṭā—the elusive notion first introduced to Western scholars of Arabic by Charles Ferguson in his seminal article “Diglossia” (1959). Ferguson applied the Arabic term luġa wusṭā to the “intermediate forms of the language” that emerge in diglossic language communities to...

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12. Mexicans Speaking in Dârija (Moroccan Arabic): Media, Urbanization, and Language Changes in Morocco

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pp. 169-188

In May 2009 the 2nd channel of Moroccan television, 2M, launched its first TV novela translated into Dârija (Moroccan Arabic): Las dos caras de Ana (2006). This initiative came after the spring and summer of 2008, which witnessed the fantastic success of the Turkish series translated into Syrian Arabic, first broadcasted by Satellite TV...

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13. Critical Languages and Critical Thinking: Reframing Academic Arabic Programs

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pp. 189-200

This chapter centers on the concept of critical thinking and its implications for foreign language study, which provides an opportunity to approach an old problem in a slightly different way, arguing for the need for attention to explicit grammar instruction within communicative teaching situations—not simply because it ultimately...

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14. Ideology and the Standardization of Arabic

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pp. 201-214

Considered from the perspective of language standardization, grammar making is a form of codification whose immediate aim, as opposed to its ulterior motive, is to provide a set of rules for a selected variety of the language. In language policy terms, grammar making is an aspect of corpus planning that goes hand in hand with status...

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15. The Ditransitive Dative Divide in Arabic: Grammaticality Assessments and Actuality

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pp. 215-232

A dialect boundary, or isogloss, exists between the eastern and western Arabic vernaculars in their treatment of ditransitive verbs with two pronominal arguments (Brustad 2000, 372–73; Retsö 1987, 225, 227, 242). Just where the line should be drawn may be a matter yet to be determined precisely, but it is convenient to draw...

E-ISBN-13: 9781589018914
E-ISBN-10: 1589018915
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589018853
Print-ISBN-10: 1589018850

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics series