A formalization of structure dependency between negation and negative polarity items in Moroccan Arabic


  • Nasreddine Bejja Applied Language and Culture Studies (ALCS) laboratory, Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences (FLHS), Chouaib Doukkali University (CDU), El Jadida, Morocco
  • Yahya Dkhissi


negation, structure dependence, Moroccan Arabic, negative polarity items (NPIs), NONN-NONP analysis, relativization


By splitting the negation domain into two projections, the apparent variation of negation patterns in Moroccan Arabic (MA) is given a principled explanation on synta-semantic grounds. While the property of structure dependence (SD) has been evidenced in various constructions in English and Moroccan Arabic, less attention has been given to SD between negative polarity items (NPIs) and negation in MA. The present study, therefore, provides substantiating evidence on NPI-negation SD drawing on MA relative constructions and proposes a formalization of the observed dependency under the non-negative-non-positive (NONN-NONP) analysis. Based on evidence from the interaction of negation with NPIs in MA, it will be demonstrated that NPIs and negation need to be in a hierarchical locality in order for negative constructions to converge. In fact, without their structural proximity the valuation of the uNONP feature on NPIs would not be possible. The present study offers an additional diagnostic to test NPI-negation SD in MA. Along with specifier and complement insertions proposed by Benmamoun (2006), embedded-negation insertion can also be used to reach the exact same conclusion. The proposed formalization is consonant with the Chomskyan postulate that core syntax does not have access to linearity (Chomsky, 2014, 2016a, 2021).


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