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The Copula in Arabic: Description and Analysis

Alotaibi, Ahmad S (2018) The Copula in Arabic: Description and Analysis. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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This thesis provides a description and analysis of the copula in Arabic. More precisely, it concerns the copula in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). First, the thesis describes the copula syntactically. This includes defining the copula in Arabic, stating strategies used to form copular sentences, indicating possible complements of the copula and clarifying contexts in which the copula is absent. Second, the thesis classifies copular sentences in MSA into four types: equational sentences, predicational sentences, specificational sentences and identificational sentences. However, it concludes that equationals and predicationals are the basic copular sentence types in MSA. Third, the present study analyses the overt copula in MSA syntactically within the Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG) framework. With regard to the semantic contribution of the copula, the thesis shows that MSA has two copulas: a copula of identity and a copula of predication. The former licenses equational sentences, while the latter licenses predicational sentences. Fourth, within HPSG this study analyses verbless sentences in MSA. It argues that there is a null copula in verbless sentences. It also argues that there are two types of the null copula: an equative null copula and a predicative null copula. Fifth, as there is a verbal element in verbless sentences and sentences with an overt copula, the thesis provides a unified account for the copula in MSA by postulating a system of types and constraints. Essentially, the last four points represent the thesis’ original contribution to knowledge.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: copular clauses, copula, predicational, equative, Arabic.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Depositing User: Ahmad Alotaibi
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2018 14:40
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2018 14:40

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