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Arabic Indefinites, Interrogatives, and NegatorsA Linguistic History of Western Dialects$
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David Wilmsen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718123.001.0001

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Andalusi Arabic negators and interrogatives

Andalusi Arabic negators and interrogatives

Early evidence of grammatical ši

(p.64) 4 Andalusi Arabic negators and interrogatives
Arabic Indefinites, Interrogatives, and Negators

David Wilmsen

Oxford University Press

The earliest unambiguous evidence for grammatical šī in Arabic comes in a few instances of an indefinite determiner and negator šī in the vernacular poetry and folk proverbs of Arab Spain (al-Andalus), evidence for a copular interrogative formed with a suffixed -š also appearing in two places. Conventionally and mistakenly interpreted as negators, these would show the operation of a Jespersen’s Cycle in Andalusi Arabic. Considering them in the context of exclamatives and rhetorically negative questions in living Arabic dialects and in their indigenous setting allows us to draw a different conclusion: negating with -š began when interrogatives formed with reflexes of šī were negated with , thus permitting their reanalysis as negators, even as they retained the post-positive -š of interrogation.

Keywords:   Andalusi Arabic interrogatives, Andalusi Arabic negators, Andalusi Arabic vernacular literature, Arabic exclamatives, Arabic rhetorical questions

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