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Systematic Polysemy in Arabic: A Generative Lexicon-based Account

Thalji, Abdullah Abdel-Majeed (2018) Systematic Polysemy in Arabic: A Generative Lexicon-based Account. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This thesis is the first of its kind to study the (linguistic) phenomenon of systematic polysemy and examine its pervasiveness in Arabic (both Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Jordanian Arabic (JA)). Systematic polysemy in this study is defined as the case where a lexeme has more than one distinct sense and the relationship between the senses is predictable by rules in language. In the narrow sense, however, this phenomenon refers only to the productive type of regular polysemy, which is defined vis-à-vis Apresjan’s (1974) notion of totality of scope (e.g. the content/container type). The integral function of this research is to (i) identify the major (as well as the minor) patterns of regular polysemy in Arabic in the major lexical categories of nouns, verbs, and adjectives; (ii) determine the extent to which these patterns converge with or diverge from the already explored patterns, mainly in English; and (iii) test the applicability of Pustejovsky’s (1995) Generative Lexicon (the GL) in accounting for the various Arabic data on polysemy. The study found that nearly every regular polysemous pattern observed in English was also present in Arabic, albeit with a few attested differences. For example, the regular pattern of the mass-to-count alternation (e.g. coffee—a coffee) is very rarely encountered in Arabic. In addition, the animal/meat alternation in English behaves rather differently in Arabic in the way the language elicits a non-countable (mass) meaning from a countable counterpart. With respect to lexicography, this study adds to the already studied patterns in Atkins and Rundell (2008). The dissertation also raises additional questions for the GL framework with respect to property nominalizations, nominalized adjectives, and generic collective nouns.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Systematic polysemy, Generative Lexicon, property nominalizations, count-to-mass alternations, Arabic generic collective nouns, the causative/inchoative alternation, -iyya deadjectival nouns.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Abdullah Thalji
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2018 08:11
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2021 09:15

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