A Minimalist Account of Free Relative Clauses in Zahrani Spoken Arabic

  •  Issa AlQurashi    
  •  Salih Alzahrani    


This paper explores the syntax of free relative clauses in Zahrani Spoken Arabic (henceforth ZSA). The paper shows that ZSA possesses two types of free relative clauses, viz., nominal free relative clauses and adverbial free relative clauses. The focus of the paper is on nominal free relative clauses. It is shown that nominal free relative clauses can appear in a subject position and a direct object position, and the range of relativization involves subject, direct object, indirect object, prepositional object and possessor relativization. The derivation of free relatives in ZSA involves resumption relativization strategy only where gaps are treated as null resumptive pronouns. As for distribution of null and overt resumptive clitics, there is an alternation between the use of null and overt resumptive pronouns/clitics in subject and direct object position. However, the utilization of overt resumptive pronouns/clitics is mandatory in indirect object, prepositional object and possessor position. It is argued that the free relative markers illi: and mi:n are complementizers. Furthermore, as null and overt resumptive clitics exhibit a big resemblance with respect to their behaviour in the coordinate structures and parasitic gaps, both free relatives with null or resumptive pronouns/clitics involve a null operator movement (in non-island contexts) from inside the free relative clause to the specifier of a complementizer phrase (spec CP). The CP is adjoined to a null antecedent occupying the head of a noun phrase (NP) which is a complement of a determiner phrase (DP) with an empty D.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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