A nominal shell analysis of restrictive relative clause constructions in Tripolian Libyan Arabic

Alshabani, Siham Musstfa (2018-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study deals with the phenomenon of restrictive relative clause constructions in Tripolian Libyan Arabic (TL-Arabic), a variety of Maghrebi Arabic spoken in and around Tripoli, the capital of Libya. The study has two main objectives. Firstly, the empirical objective is to give a detailed description of the facts of relative pronouns and relative clause constructions in TL-Arabic, which has not previously been attempted in the literature. As will be shown, TL-Arabic has only one element functioning as a relative pronoun, namely elly. Depending on the grammatical context, this pronoun corresponds to a range of relative pronouns in English, such as “who”, “which”, “whose”, “where”, “when”, etc. The focus of the investigation is on the morphophonological properties of the relative pronoun, the structural positions in which it can occur, as well as on the grammatical functions of the matrix clause expression containing the relative clause (e.g. subject, direct object, etc.). Although the emphasis is on restrictive relative clauses, attention is also given to two other types of relative clause that occur in TL-Arabic, namely non-restrictive relative clauses (also known as appositive relative clauses) and free relative clauses. The second main objective is to provide an analysis of restrictive relative clause constructions in TL-Arabic within the broad theoretical framework of generative grammar. More specifically, an attempt is made to develop a minimalist generative account of the TL-Arabic facts within the framework of the analysis of restrictive relative clauses in Afrikaans put forward by Meyer (2015). The core hypotheses of Meyer’s analysis are based largely on the ideas underlying Oosthuizen’s (2013) Nominal Shell Analysis of obligatory reflexivity. In developing the TL-Arabic analysis, the focus falls on two main questions: (i) what are the specific steps in the derivation of restrictive relative clauses in TL-Arabic? and (ii) precisely how and by means of which mechanisms is the coreferential relationship between the relative pronoun and its antecedent established? In broad terms, it is argued that the relative pronoun elly and the expression that will eventually serve as its antecedent are initially merged into the same nominal shell construction, more specifically an nP with a contrastive-focus light noun n as its head. The light noun takes the relative pronoun as its complement and the antecedent expression as its specifier. Unlike the light noun and the relative pronoun, the antecedent has a set of valued phi (φ)-features (person, number, gender), which serves to value the φ-features of the relative pronoun with the light noun serving as intermediary. In this configuration the φ-valued relative pronoun is then semantically interpreted as obligatory coreferential with the expression in the specifier position of the nP. Several operations are subsequently applied to raise the relative pronoun and its antecedent into their respective surface positions. Employing the Split-CP hypothesis of Rizzi (1997) and Benincà and Poletto (2004), and in line with the analysis proposed for Afrikaans by Meyer (2015), it is argued that the relative pronoun ends up in the specifier position of a Contrastive Focus phrase in the left-periphery of the relative clause. In the course of the discussion attention is also given to two instances of obligatory agreement relationships in TL-Arabic, namely between (i) a subject marker (SM) and the subject argument of a sentence and (ii) an object marker (OM) and the direct object argument. Following Elghariani (2016), it is argued that both these relationships can be accounted for in terms of essentially the same nominal shell analysis as proposed for relative pronouns and their antecedents, but with the nominal shell in these cases headed by an identity-focus light noun. The main finding of the study is that the proposed nominal shell analysis provides an adequate description and explanation of the facts of restrictive relative clauses in TL-Arabic, without requiring any theoretical devices not already available within the broad generative minimalist framework.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie handel oor die verskynsel van restriktiewe (of beperkende) relatiefsin-konstruksies in Tripoliaans-Libiese Arabies (TL-Arabies), ’n variëteit van Maghrebi Arabies wat gepraat word in en rondom Tripoli, die hoofstad van Libië. Die verskynsel is nog nie sistematies beskryf vir TL-Arabies nie. Die studie het twee hoofoogmerke. Die eerste, empiriese, oogmerk is om ’n gedetailleerde beskrywing te gee van die feite van relatiewe voornaamwoorde en relatiefsin-konstruksies in TL-Arabies. Soos getoon sal word, het TL-Arabies slegs een element wat as relatiewe voornaamwoord optree, naamlik elly. Afhangende van die grammatikale konteks, korrespondeer hierdie voornaamwoord met ’n reeks relatiewe voornaamwoorde in Engels, bv. “who”, “which”, “whose”, “where”, “when”, ens. Die ondersoek fokus op die morfofonologiese eienskappe van die relatiewe voornaamwoord, die strukturele posisies waarin dit kan voorkom, sowel as die grammatikale funksies van die matrikssin-uitdrukking wat die relatiefsin bevat (bv. subjek, direkte objek, ens.). Hoewel die klem geplaas word op restriktiewe relatiefsinne, word daar ook aandag gegee aan twee ander tipes relatiefsin in TL-Arabies, naamlik nie-restriktiewe relatiefsinne (ook bekend as apposisionele of bystellende relatief-sinne) en vrye relatiefsinne. Die tweede hoofoogmerk is om ’n analise te gee van restriktiewe relatiefsin-konstruksies in TL-Arabies binne die breë teoretiese raamwerk van generatiewe grammatika. Meer spesifiek word daar gepoog om ’n generatiewe minimalistiese beskrywing en verklaring te gee van die TL-Arabiese feite binne die raamwerk van Meyer (2015) se analise van restriktiewe relatiefsinne in Afrikaans. Die kernhipoteses van Meyer se analise is grootliks gebaseer op die idees onderliggend aan Oosthuizen (2013) se Nominale Skulp-analise (“Nominal Shell Analysis”) van verpligte refleksiwiteit. In die ontwikkeling van die TL-Arabiese analise val die fokus op twee hoofvrae: (i) wat is die spesifieke stappe in die afleiding van restriktiewe relatiefsinne in TL-Arabies? en (ii) presies hoe en deur middel van watter meganismes word die koreferensiële verhouding tussen die relatiewe voornaamwoord en sy antesedent bewerkstellig? In brëe trekke word daar geargumenteer dat die relatiewe voornaamwoord elly en die uitdrukking wat uiteindelik sal dien as sy antesedent aanvanklik saamgevoeg word in dieselfde nominale skulp-konstruksie, meer spesifiek ’n nP met ’n kontrasfokus-ligte naamwoord n as hoof. Die ligte naamwoord neem die relatiewe voornaamwoord as sy komplement en die antesedent uitdrukking as sy spesifiseerder. Anders as die ligte naamwoord en die relatiewe voornaamwoord, beskik die antesedent oor ’n stel gewaardeerde phi (φ)-kenmerke (persoon, getal, geslag), wat dien om die φ-kenmerke van die relatiewe voornaamwoord te waardeer met die ligte naamwoord wat optree as tussenganger. In dié konfigurasie word die φ-gewaardeerde relatiewe voornaamwoord dan semanties geïnterpreteer as verplig koreferensieel met die uitdrukking in die spesifiseerderposisie van die nP. Verskeie daaropvolgende bewerkings bring mee dat die relatiewe voornaamwoord en sy antesedent verskuif tot in hulle onderskeie oppervlakposisies. Teen die agtergrond van Rizzi (1997) en Benincà en Poletto (2004) se Verdeelde-CP-hipotese (“Split-CP hypothesis”), en in ooreenstemming met die analise wat deur Meyer (2015) voorgestel is vir Afrikaans, word geargumenteer dat die relatiewe voornaamwoord opeindig in die spesifiseerderposisie van ’n Kontrastief-Fokus-frase aan die linkergrens van die relatiefsin. In die loop van die bespreking word daar ook aandag gegee aan twee instansies van verpligte kongruensie-verhoudings in TL-Arabies, naamlik tussen (i) ’n subjekmerker (SM) en die subjekargument van ’n sin en (ii) ’n objekmerker (OM) en die direkte objekargument. In navolging van Elghariani (2016) word geargumenteer dat beide dié verhoudings verklaar kan word in terme van wesenlik dieselfde nominale skulp-analise wat voorgestel word vir relatiewe voornaamwoorde en hulle antesedente; in hierdie gevalle besit die nominale skulp egter ’n identiteitsfokus-ligte naamwoord as hoof. Die hoofbevinding van die studie is dat die voorgestelde nominale skulp-analise ’n toereikende beskrywing en verklaring bied van die feite van restriktiewe relatiefsin-konstruksies in TL-Arabies, sonder die nodigheid vir enige teoretiese meganismes wat nie reeds beskikbaar is binne die breë generatiewe minimalistiese raamwerk nie.

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