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Arabic Indefinites, Interrogatives, and Negators – A Linguistic History of Western Dialects - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Arabic Indefinites, Interrogatives, and Negators: A Linguistic History of Western Dialects

David Wilmsen


That some dialects of Arabic negate with a pre-posed mā alone, some with what is called ‘bipartite’ negation mā … š, and some with post-positive -š alone has invited comparisons with a similar process, called Jespersen’s Cycle, said to have occurred in French, whereby the pre-posed negator ne became associated with an emphatic post-positive particle pas ‘step’—and, in some French vernaculars, with a post-positive pas alone. Yet the similarity between Arabic and French is purely superficial, lacking supporting linguistic evidence. Forcing the facts of Arabic into preconceived theoretical constr ... More

Keywords: Arabic dialects, Arabic grammatical markers, comparative Semitics, Croft’s Cycle, existential particles, Jespersen’s Cycle, Modern South Arabian, Proto-Semitic demonstratives, theoretical linguistics, 3rd person pronouns

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780198718123
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718123.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David Wilmsen, author
Professor of Arabic, The American University of Beirut