Obligatory Movement Operations for Verbal Roots in Najdi Arabic

Al Qahtani Khulud, Al Zahrani Mohammad


This paper focuses on the obligatory movement operations that Najdi Arabic (NA) verb forms must undergo to satisfy the morphosyntactic requirements within the minimalist program (MP). Recall that the practice of the MP syntactic theory, including its further advancements, proposed by Chomsky (1995, 2000, 2001) springs from the fact that the grammar of a language starts basically from the lexicon from which suitable words are selected to form clauses. The selected words undergo some syntactic operations such as Merge, by which larger constituents are formed, and Move, by which the formed constituents move to higher positions in the hierarchy to fulfil some specific syntactic purposes. When the elements have undergone the operations of Merge and Move they are spelled out into phonetic forms (PF) and logical forms (LF). In light of this, we argue that NA verbs start out as roots in the head of VP before merging with the vocalic affixes in the head of Tax-AspP to satisfy the subjectverb agreement requirements and mark the aspect features. Perfective verb forms must then continue to move to T to merge with the past tense abstract features while imperfective forms stay in Tax-AspP. The thematic subject is generated in Spec,VP; it may stay there to derive the VSO order, or move higher to derive the SVO order. The findings show that obligatory movements indicate interactions between the functional categories of TP, Tax-AspP and VP: NA verbal roots obligatorily move to Tax-Asp to derive (im)perfective forms; perfectives obligatorily move to T.


Verb Movement, Word Order, Najdi Arabic

Full Text:



Al-Balushi, R. (2010). The licensing of structural case in Standard Arabic. Canadian Linguistic Association.

Al-Balushi, R. (2011). Case in standard Arabic: The untraveled paths. (PhD), University of Toronto.

Al-Horais, N. (2009). A minimalist approach to agreement in Arabic. Newcastle Working Papers in Linguistics, 15, 1-21.

Al Zahrani, M. (2013). Morphosyntactic and Semantic Properties of Hijazi Arabic Modals. (PhD Theoretical Linguistics: Morpho-Syntax and Semantics Interface), University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland.

Al Zahrani, M. (2014a). Negation in Non-Verbal Clauses- Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Spoken Hijazi Arabic (SHA). Pakistan Journal of Languages and Translation Studies, 2, 31- 49.

Al Zahrani, M. (2014b). The syntactic Properties of Negatives. US-China Foreign Language(1), 1-17.

Al Zahrani, M. (2016). Aktionsarten Projection and Subcategorization. The Internaional Journal of Arabic Linguistics (IJAL), 2(1), 46 - 69.

Al Zahrani, M. (2018). Morphosyntactic and Semantic Properties of Epistemic Modals modifying Verbal Clauses. In P. G. Medina, R. T. Alonso & R. V. Escarza (Eds.), Verbs, Clauses and Constructions: Functional and Typological Approaches (pp. 149 - 166). Newcastle: United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

AlQahtani, S. J. (2016). The Structure and Distribution of Determiner Phrases in Arabic: Standard Arabic and Saudi Dialects. (PhD), University of Ottawa.

Aoun, J., Choueiri, L., & Benmamoun, E. (2010). The syntax of Arabic. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Bahloul, M. (1994). The Syntax and Semantics of Taxis, Aspect, Tense and Modality in Standard Arabic. (PhD PhD), Cornell University.

Bahloul, M. (2008). Structure and Function of the Arabic Verb. London: Routledge.

Benmamoun, E. (1992). Functional and Inflectional Morphology: Problems of Projection, Representation and Derivation. (Ph.D), USC, Los Angeles.

Benmamoun, E. (2000). The feature structure of functional categories : a comparative study of Arabic dialects. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bobaljik, J. D. (2000). The rich agreement hypothesis in review. Ms., McGill University.

Chomsky, N. (1986). Barriers. Cambridge, Massachusetts: M.I.T. Press.

Chomsky, N. (1995). The minimalist program. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.

Chomsky, N. (2000). Minimalist Inquiries. In R. M. e. al (Ed.), Step by Step: Essays on Minimalist Syntax in Honor of Howard Lasnik (pp. 53-87). Cambridge, Massachusetts: M.I.T. Press.

Chomsky, N. (2001). Derivation by Phase. In M. Kenstowicz (Ed.), Ken Hale: A Life in Language (pp. 13-127 ). Cambridge, Massachusetts: M.I.T. Press.

Fassi Fehri, A. (1993). Issues in the Structure of Arabic Clauses and Words. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Hassan, A. (1987). Al Nahw Al-Wafi. Cairo: Daar Al-Ma'aarif.

Kayne, R. S. (1994). The antisymmetry of syntax. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Koopman, H., & Sportiche, D. (1991). The positions of subjects. Lingua(85), 211-258.

McCloskey, J. (1996). Subjects and subject positions. In R. B. a. I. Roberts (Ed.), The Syntax of the Celtic Languages (pp. 241-243): Cambridge University Press.

McCloskey, J. (1997). Subjecthood and subject positions. In L. Haegeman (Ed.), Elements of grammar: a handbook of generative syntax (pp. 197-235): Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Miyagawa, S. (2009). Why Agree? Why Move?: Unifying Agreement-Based and Discourse-Configurational Languages: MIT Press.

Mohammad, M. A. (1989). The sentential structure of Arabic. (Thesis (Ph D )), University of Southern California Library,, Los Angeles, Calif.

Ouhalla, J. (1993). Negation, Focus and Tense: The arabic laa and maa. Rivisita di Linguistica, 5.

Palmer, F. R. (1974). The English verb (2d ed.). London: Longman.

Pollock, J.-Y. (1989). Verb Movement, Universal Grammar, and the Structure of IP. Linguistic Inquiry(20), 365-424.

Radford, A. (2009). An introduction to English sentence structure. Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Rahhali, M., & Souali, E. H. (1997). A Minimalist approach to verb Movement in Standard Arabic. Studia Linguistica, 51(3), 317-338.

Ryding, K. C. (2005). A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic. Cambridge Cambridge University Press.

Soltan, O. (2007). On formal feature licensing in minimalism: aspects of Standard Arabic morphosyntax. (PhD), University of Maryland, College Park.

Soltan, O. (2009). Agree in the Functional Domain: Evidence from the Morphosyntax of Positive and Negative Imperatives in Standard Arabic. Afrrican Linguistics.

Speas, M. J. (1986). Adjuncts and projections in syntax. (PhD), Unpublished PhD thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Unpublished PhD thesis.

Travis, L. (1984). Parameters and Effects of Word Order Variation. (PhD), MIT, Mass.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.11n.1p.27


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.