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  Eléments de Linguistique Arabe : Etude Comparée
Edited by : Moha Ennaji
1999 / Issue 4


Moha Ennaji

Janet C.E. Watson
CVVC Syllables in Arabic

Moha Ennaji and Fatima Sadiqi
Negation, Tense and the Licensing of N-Words in Standard Arabic

Fethi Mansouri
Interlanguage Syntax in Arabic as a Second Language: A Processability Approach

Muhammad Raji Zughoul and Hussein Salama Abdul Fattah
Temporal Expression in English and Arabic : A Study in Contrastive Lexical Semantics

Moha Ennaji
On Preserving Arabic and Berber Languages and Oral Traditions in North Africa (in Arabic)

CVVC Syllables in Arabic
pp. 1-17


    Traditionally, CVVC and CVCC syllables in Arabic have been analysed as superheavy syllables comprising a canonical bimoraic syllable and a degenerate syllable. Recent work on modern Arabic dialects, however, has shown that CVVC and CVCC syllables are not prosodically identical: in many eastern dialects, CVVC syllables are attested word-internally in derived environments while CVCC syllables are attested in word-final position only. Stress patterns in San’ani Arabic, a dialect of Yemeni Arabic, provide a further interesting example of asymmetries between CVVC and CVCC syllables. While in most Arabic dialects word-final CVVC and CVCC syllables invariably attract word stress, in San’ani word-final CVCC attracts stress but CVVC attracts stress iff the penultimate or antepenultimate syllable is neither CVV or CVG (i.e. CVGeminate). Where the penultimate or antepenultimate syllable is CVV or CVG stress is assigned to this syllable and not to word-final CVVC. In the discussion, I consider Broselow et al’s (1992, 1995, 1997) bimoraic analysis of word-internal CVVC syllables and suggest that the rather unexpected behaviour of word-final CVVC syllables vis-a-vis CVCC syllables can also be attributed to the wide sonority distance between adjacent V and C. This sonority distance allows the latter portion of the long vowel and the final consonant in CVVC syllables to share a mora word-internally through Broselow’s Adjunction-to-Mora rule, and, by extension, for the final C of word-final CVVC syllables to be treated as extrametrical as opposed to extrasyllabic. The final extrametrical consonant links directly to the syllable node giving final CVVC peripherality which allows it to be treated as an extrametrical bimoraic foot.

    The stress patterns of words with final CVVC syllables also highlights a weight distinction between CVG and CVC syllables: while CVG syllables are always treated as heavy by stress rules, CVC syllables are treated as heavy iff they fall in the environment of other CVC syllables or light (CV) syllables; in the environment of final CVVC or word-internal CVV and CVG syllables, CVC syllables are treated as light and fail to be stressed. To account for the dual nature of CVC syllables in San’ani, I propose a two-layered syllable-internal grid in which CVC syllables are represented as bimoraic on the lower layer but as monomoraic on the upper layer, whereas CVG syllables (like CVV syllables) are treated as bimoraic on both the lower and upper layers.

Negation, Tense and the Licensing of N-Words in Arabic
pp. 19-43


    In this paper, we deal with some aspects of sentential negation in Standard Arabic (SA). We take the negative elements in Standard Arabic to be heads that are structurally positioned immediately above VP. This puts them in the scope of Tense. However, Tense interacts with Neg-V rather than with Neg alone. Treated as functional heads, the negative elements are linked to n-words like ?abadan (never) and ?aHadan (anybody), which we regard as LF operators. The features of Neg are weak, that is why n-words do not move until LF. The comparison made between SA and Moroccan Arabic (MA) has revealed that n-words in SA and MA appear in postverbal position c-commanded by negative heads. Because they exhibit weak Neg features, the latter do not provoke overt movement of the n-words to the Spec position. The operation of feature checking is, therefore, satisfied at LF, regardless of whether the n-word occurs in the same matrix clause as that of Neg or in the embedded clause. When Neg heads occur without the n-words in a sentence, they are licensed by a null Neg-operator. The checking procedure is consistent with the Minimalist model as proposed in Chomsky (1993, 1994, 1995).

Interlanguage Syntax in Arabic as a Second Language : A Processability Theory Perspective
pp. 45-71


    This article discusses some of the theoretical assumptions presented in the Processability Theory (Pienemann 1994, 1998), in particular those relating to the development of syntactic structures in the learner's language. Much of the testing of the Processability Theory (PT) has been restricted to a small number of typologically similar languages especially German and English. The objective of this paper is to (i) establish the acquisitional stages for syntax in the context of Arabic as a second language (ASL) and (ii) to describe and debate the theoretical assumptions which account for the manner in which ASL syntax develops. This will be followed by a theoretical discussion where data-driven findings are analysed from the perspective of PT and compared to the acquisition stages generated through PT major findings on other languages such as German (Pienemann 1998), Spanish (Johnston 1995) and Japanese (Huter 1996).

Temporal Expression in English and Arabic : A Study in Contrastive Lexical Semantics
pp. 73-93


    The paucity of contrastive lexical-semantic studies in such a very important linguistic area, as Arabic and English temporal expressions of the day, has motivated the present researchers to attempt to plug a gap in the linguistic literature. In addition to the explication of the terms for the hours of the day in Arabic, this study delineates and contrasts the temporal expressions of the day in both languages under five sub-headings, viz.: (1) a.m. and p.m., (2) from midnight to sunrise, (3) from sunrise to noon, (4) from noon-time to sunrise, and (5) from sunset to midnight. Cross-cultural features as well as potential cross-linguistic difficulties in this area have been highlighted along with certain related durative expressions and collocations.

On Preserving Arabic and Berber Languages and Oral Traditions in North Africa (in Arabic)
pp. 1A-14A


    This article deals with the preservation of oral culture in North Africa through the revitalization and promotion of the two main mother tongues in the region. Berber and colloquial Arabic. The article provides a synopsis of the statuses, functions, domains of use and populations of these languages, and concludes that the oral tradition expressed by these languages may be lost if the latter remain non-codified and non-standardized, and if the body of the oral culture and literature they encompass is not collected and published.