Phi-features, definiteness, and Case in Standard Arabic adjectival agreement: A feature sharing approach

Abdul-Hafeed Ali Fakih

Abstract


The objective of the study is to provide an answer to the following question: How can phi-features, definiteness, and Case in Standard Arabic adjectival agreement be accounted for in minimalist syntax? The study explores different morpho-syntactic models of adjectival agreement and feature valuation and points out their empirical predictions; more particularly, it examines Chomsky’s the Agree model and the feature sharing approach of Frampton & Gutmann and Pesetsky & Torrego. Moreover, it shows that the Agree model of Chomsky could not offer a satisfactory account of phi-features, definiteness, and Case in Standard Arabic adjectival agreement while the feature sharing approach of agreement advocated in Frampton & Gutmann and Pesetsky & Torrego provides a unified treatment of the subject under investigation. It demonstrates that the feature sharing approach creates a permanent link between the two agreeing nodes in the syntactic analysis of phi-features, definiteness, and Case in Standard Arabic adjectival agreement; it is in this framework that the Agree operation is viewed as a feature sharing operation assumed to unify two feature occurrences into two instances of one shared formal object. It has been found in this study that the proposed formulation of Agree operation shows that Agree creates a permanent link between two agreeing nodes, thus resulting in forming a single formal object rather than two independent objects. Interestingly, it is shown that Standard Arabic postnominal adjectives agree with the noun they modify in gender, number, definiteness, and Case.

Keywords


Feature sharing, feature valuation, adjectival agreement, phi-features, definiteness, Case

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