Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter (A) October 20, 2017

Identifying Adj + N compounds in Modern Standard Arabic

Abdel Rahman Mitib Altakhaineh

Abstract

The study aims to identify Adj+N compounds in Modern Standard Arabic by applying the cross-linguistic criteria for compoundhood discussed in the relevant literature. The analysis reveals that the most reliable cross-linguistic criteria to distinguish between phrases and compounds in MSA are adjacency, referentiality, compositionality and the presence of inflection. Another language-specific criterion, i.e. adjacency and the order of elements, which has asserted its validity, has been suggested to distinguish between the two types of construct. I have also shown that all cases of Adj+N compounding in MSA are bahuvrihis, since they denote a person in possession of the entity denoted by the compound. Similar to Fassi Fehri (“Arabic modifying adjectives and DP structures” 1999), I argue that the output of Adj+N compounding behaves more like a noun than an adjective. I propose that Adj+N compounds have a silent N head, i.e. ‘one/person’, which determines the syntactic category of such constructions in Modern Standard Arabic (cf. Günther [“The rich, the poor, the obvious: Arguing for an ellipsis analysis of ‘adjectives used as nouns’”, to appear) for a similar analysis of nominalized adjectives in English).

Abbreviations

acc

accusative

Adj/adj

adjective

def

definite

f

feminine

fpl

feminine plural

fsg

feminine singular

gen

genitive

indef

indefinite

m

masculine

mpl

masculine plural

msg

masculine singular

N/n

noun

nom

nominative

pl

plural

sg

singular

References

Al Mahmoud, Mahmoud S. 2014. Prenominal and postnominal adjectives in Arabic: A proposed analysis. SAGE Open 4. 1–8.10.1177/2158244014537650Search in Google Scholar

Altakhaineh, Abdel Rahman M. 2016a. Identifying Arabic compounds other than the Synthetic Genitive Construction. Acta Linguistica Hungarica 63(3). 277–298.10.1556/064.2016.63.3.1Search in Google Scholar

Altakhaineh, Abdel Rahman M. 2016b. Compounding in Modern Standard Arabic, Jordanian Arabic and English. UK: Newcastle University Unpublished doctoral dissertation.Search in Google Scholar

Arcodia, Giorgio Francesco. 2012. Constructions and headedness in derivation and compounding. Morphology 22(3). 365–397.10.1007/s11525-011-9189-2Search in Google Scholar

Baker, Mark C. 2003. Lexical categories: Verbs, nouns and adjectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511615047Search in Google Scholar

Bauer, Laurie. 1990. Be-heading the word. Journal of Linguistics 26. 1–31.10.1017/S0022226700014407Search in Google Scholar

Bauer, Laurie. 1998. When is a sequence of two nouns a compound in English? English Language and Linguistics 2. 65–86.10.1017/S1360674300000691Search in Google Scholar

Bauer, Laurie. 2009. IE, Germanic: Danish. In Rochelle Lieber & Pavol Štekauer (eds.), The Oxford handbook of compounding, 400–416. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Bauer, Laurie, Rochelle Lieber & Ingo Plag. 2013. The Oxford reference guide to English morphology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747062.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Booij, Geert. 2007. The grammar of words. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226245.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Čermák, Jan. 1997. A prow in foam: The Old English bahuvrihi compound as a poetic device. Prague Studies in English 22. 13–31.Search in Google Scholar

Chafe, Wallace. 2012. Are adjectives universal? The case of Northern Iroquoian. Linguistic Typology 16(1). 1–39.10.1515/lity-2012-0001Search in Google Scholar

Don, J. 2009. IE, Germanic: Dutch. In Rochelle Lieber & Pavol Štekauer (eds.), The Oxford handbook of compounding, 370–385. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Fàbregas, Antonio & Sergio Scalise. 2012. Morphology from data to theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.10.1515/9780748656264Search in Google Scholar

Fassi Fehri, Abdelkader. 1999. Arabic modifying adjectives and DP structures. Studia Linguistica 53(2). 105–154.10.1111/1467-9582.00042Search in Google Scholar

Fassi Fehri, Abdelkader. 2012. Key features and parameters in Arabic grammar. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.10.1075/la.182Search in Google Scholar

Günther, Christine. to appear. The rich, the poor, the obvious: Arguing for an ellipsis analysis of “adjectives used as nouns”. In Alex Ho-Cheong Leung & William Van Der Wurff (eds.), The noun phrase in English: Past and present. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Search in Google Scholar

Haspelmath, Martin. 2012. How to compare major word classes across the world’s languages. UCLA Working Papers in Linguistics: Theories of Everything 17(16). 109–130.Search in Google Scholar

Kiefer, Ferenc. 2009. Uralic, Finno-Ugric: Hungarian. In Rochelle Lieber & Pavol Štekauer (eds.), The Oxford handbook of compounding, 527–541. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Lieber, Rochelle & Pavol Štekauer. 2009. Introduction: Status and definition of compounding. In Rochelle Lieber & Pavol Štekauer. (eds.), The Oxford handbook of compounding, 3–18. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech & Jan Svartvik. 1985. A comprehensive grammar of the English language. London: Longman.Search in Google Scholar

Ralli, Angela & Marios Andreou. 2012. Revisiting exocentricity in compounding: Evidence from Greek and Cypriot. In Ferenc Kiefer, Mária Ladányi & Péter Siptár (eds.), Current issues in morphological theory: (Ir)regularity, analogy and frequency, 65–81. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.10.1075/cilt.322.04ralSearch in Google Scholar

Ryding, Karin C. 2005. A reference grammar of Modern Standard Arabic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511486975Search in Google Scholar

Scalise, Sergio & Antonietta Bisetto. 2009. The classification of compounds. In Rochelle Lieber & Pavol Štekauer (eds.), The Oxford handbook of compounding, 35–53. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Strang, Barbara M. H. 1969. Modern English structure. London: Arnold.Search in Google Scholar

Szymanek, Bogdan. 2009. IE, Slavonic: Polish. In Rochelle Lieber & Pavol Štekauer (eds.), The Oxford handbook of compounding, 464–477. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Wetzer, Harrie. 1996. The typology of adjectival predication. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.10.1515/9783110813586Search in Google Scholar

Zamponi, Raoul. 2009. Arawakan: Maipure-Yavitero. In Rochelle Lieber & Pavol Štekauer (eds.), The Oxford handbook of compounding, 584–593. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2017-10-20
Published in Print: 2017-10-26

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston