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Title: The multiple subject construction in Arabic : evidence from subject doubling in Tunisian Arabic
Authors: Jlassi, Mohamed
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This dissertation explores the syntax of set of subject constructions in Tunisian Arabic (TA) comprising a NP and a third person free-standing pronoun, known in the literature of Arabic grammar as an H-Form (Fassi Fehri 1993). The subject NP-H pair has three main realisations, each of which will be shown to have a distinct information structure: an NP-H sequence, where the NP is doubled by the H-form, conveying contrastive topic, an H-NP sequence, where the NP is again doubled by the H-form, expressing a thetic meaning, and an NP-H sequence conveying contrastive/exhaustive focus where the H-form is a nominal copula of a cleft construction. The two subject doubling sequences are analysed as realisations of the same syntactic structure, a multiple subject construction (MSC), but for the values of the syntactic information-structural features [Top(ic)] and [Foc(us)]. The NP-H sequence has the NP in the spec(ifier) of a Top head and the H-form in the spec of the head Fin(ite), specified for Focus. The combination of [+Top] and [+Foc] yields the contrastive topic reading. The H-NP sequence has the H in the spec of Top and the NP in the spec of Fin. The combination of the expletive H in spec of Top and the focused NP in spec of Fin yields the thetic reading. The parameter distinguishing between languages with subject doubling of the TA type and languages without, as English, is about the specification of Fin. In English Fin has an EPP feature attracting any subject, topic or focus or expletive. In TA, Fin is specified for [Foc EPP] only. Topic-marked subjects are attracted by a higher Top head, marked for [Top, EPP], where the latter can be satisfied by an expletive in the absence of a topical subject. It will be shown that Finnish and Icelandic have the same parameter specification as TA, therefore exhibiting a MSC with properties similar to the MSC in TA. The NP-H pair is base-generated as a Small Clause embedded in a so called ‘big DP’, where the NP is the subject and the H-pronoun the predicate. There is only partial agreement between the two terms; in particular there is no person agreement. The MSC is derived by separate movement of the NP and the H-pronoun.
Description: Phd Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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