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Nominalization

(2,966 words)

Author(s): Mustafa Mughazy
Event nominals, also known as verbal nouns, derived nominals, and action nominalizations, are nouns that refer to events, e.g. suqūṭ ‘falling’, wuṣūl ‘arrival’, tadmīr ‘destruction’ (maṣdar). This particular class of nouns has been subject to much discussion because it sheds doubt on the traditional distinction between nouns and verbs. The controversy stems from the fact that although event nominals display external syntactic properties typical of nouns, they seem to have internal verbal syntax. For example, event nom…
Date: 2018-04-01

Performatives

(1,985 words)

Author(s): Mustafa Mughazy
Performatives are utterances that are unambiguous with regard to their illocutionary force (Austin 1962, 1979). For example, the performative utterance I hereby promise that I will come at noon can only be interpreted as a promise, whereas the nonperformative statement I will come at noon can be intended and/or interpreted as a promise, a threat, a prediction, or a warning, among other possible illocutionary forces. A performative utterance is issued to perform only a particular type of communicative act, and it has no other interpretations regardless of the nature of the context. The …
Date: 2018-04-01

Relative Clause

(5,412 words)

Author(s): Mustafa Mughazy
1. Subordination and relative clauses Subordination is a syntactic configuration in which a clause functions as a constituent within the structure of another clause either as an argument (subject or complement) or as a modifier. What distinguishes subordinate clauses from independent (or main) clauses is that the former cannot be used in isolation. For example, the subordinate purpose clause li-yaktuba ‘for him to write’ and ʾan yaktubū ‘that they write’ cannot be used as independent sentences. Even a subordinate relative clause with no relative pronoun cannot be used independ…
Date: 2018-04-01

Pragmatics

(3,996 words)

Author(s): Mustafa Mughazy
Pragmatics, in its broadest sense, is “the study of action deliberately undertaken with the intention of causing the intended interpreter to re-assess his model of how things are, including his system of values and his model of the speaker's beliefs, attitudes, and intentions” (Green 1996:5). Pragmatics, according to this definition, encompasses all intentional communicative acts whether verbal or nonverbal. For example, a hand gesture that is characteristic of Egyptians involves holding the fin…
Date: 2018-04-01

Ellipsis

(1,978 words)

Author(s): Mustafa Mughazy
1. Definition Ellipsis is “a discourse phenomenon, in the sense that the interpretation of the missing constituent sometimes depends on something said in an earlier sentence – possibly even by another speaker” (Sag and Wasaw 1999:313). For example, in (1) the sentential subject of the embedded clause, inni aftaḥ il-bāb ‘that I open the door’, is elided and only the negated predicate remains. The first clause includes an antecedent, which is morphologically, syntactically, and semantically identical to the missing constituent, hence facilitating its interpretation. (1) ḥāwilt in-n…
Date: 2018-10-01