The Morphosyntax of Negative Pronouns Constructions in Jordanian Arabic

Issa Abdel Razaq, Mohammed Mahameed


The main aim of this paper is to investigate the asymmetric distribution of negation strategies in verbless constructions in Jordanian Arabic and similar dialects. In particular, negative pronouns constructions present two major problems for analyses of sentential negation. The first problem lies in the use of the verbal negation strategy in such constructions although they are verbless. The second problem is the merger of subject pronouns that are clear maximal projections with the negative marker occupying the head of the negative projection. To solve these problems, the paper provides an analysis that is based on the morphosyntactic properties of negative pronouns as well as the discourse properties of the constructions in which they occur. To account for the merger between the pronoun and the head of the negative, the study demonstrates that such pronouns belong to the class of weak bound subject pronouns that undergo head movement to Neg to check and delete its uninterpretable [+D] feature. The proposed analysis treats negative pronouns constructions as topic-comment structures that involve a fronted DP followed by a complete string of predication. As such, the paper concludes that the use of the marked negation strategy is a natural outcome given the discourse properties associated with topic-comment constructions to which negative pronouns constructions belong.



Arabic dialects, negation, negative pronouns, verbless sentences, topic-comment constructions

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