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ERIC Number: ED539496
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 274
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2670-9611-1
Finiteness in Jordanian Arabic: A Semantic and Morphosyntactic Approach
Al-Aqarbeh, Rania
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Kansas
Previous research on finiteness has been dominated by the studies in tensed languages, e.g. English. Consequently, finiteness has been identified with tense. The traditional definition influences the morphological, semantic, and syntactic characterization of finiteness which has also been equated with tense and its realization. The present study investigates finiteness in Jordanian Arabic (JA), a spoken variety of Arabic that lacks tense marking and which marks agreement in all contexts. Such a language presents a challenge to the previous research on finiteness. I adopted a multi-level analytical approach in studying finiteness in JA that corresponds to the multi-faceted nature of the finiteness category. I enumerated the morphological, semantic, and syntactic properties commonly correlated with finiteness in the literature. In order to control for the clausal status of finiteness, I explored finiteness in JA in the context of complement clauses, a context that licenses finite as well non-finite clauses. To meet this goal, I adopted Noonan's (1985/ 2005) typological classification of complement clauses in which he classified clauses in terms of the matrix complement-taking-predicates. I then examined whether JA exhibits a distinction in regards to the traditional morphological, semantic, and syntactic properties of finiteness. I found that predicates in JA can be classified morphologically in terms of realis marking. Complement clauses encode different semantic interpretations which can also be captured by the realis distinction. Specifically, realis marked predicates encode distinctive aspectual interpretations in the real world. Conversely, realis unmarked predicates encode unrealized events. Nonetheless, the complement clauses are not distinguished syntactically in terms of realis marking. An alternative denominator is whether the clause is a Complementizer Phrase (CP) or not. Based on the mismatch between the morphological and semantic distinction, on the one hand, and the syntactic distinction, on the other, I argue that the finiteness notion cannot be extended to JA. This conclusion has significant implications for current linguistic research on finiteness. The study suggests that finiteness is a language-specific unification of morphosyntactic features rather than a core property of Universal Grammar. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Jordan