Subject Licensing in non-Verbal Clauses in Arabic

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Abstract

This paper investigates the licensing of subjects in Standard Arabic participial clauses. Unlike verbal clauses, whose subject may appear post-verbally, the subject of participial clauses must precede the participle, having properties of topics of verbal clauses. I claim that this is because the canonical subject position, [Spec, vP], is not available for subjects of participles, due to lack of Nom Case. It is shown that neither tense nor a copula is sufficient to license structural Nom Case on a subject in [Spec, vP]. I conclude that the licensing of Nom Case on post-verbal subjects is dependent on V-to-T raising; that is, Nom Case is licensed by the T-V complex. The present account has implications for the nature of pre-verbal subjects in Arabic as well as for the categorial status of copular elements like kāna.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249–282
Number of pages34
JournalBrill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
Volume11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Arabic – participles – Nom Case – verbal Case – V-to-T movement – kāna

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