Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Arabic Historical DialectologyLinguistic and Sociolinguistic Approaches$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Clive Holes

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198701378

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198701378.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 September 2021

Dialects (speech communities), the apparent past, and grammaticalization

Dialects (speech communities), the apparent past, and grammaticalization

Towards an understanding of the history of Arabic

Chapter:
(p.206) 8 Dialects (speech communities), the apparent past, and grammaticalization
Source:
Arabic Historical Dialectology
Author(s):

Jonathan Owens

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198701378.003.0008

Over a long-term time frame in a language with several discrete dialects, how far does grammaticalization theory elucidate the history of individual morphemes? This issue is addressed using the tense/mode prefix b-, found in Gulf/Najdi, Yemeni, Uzbekistan, Nigerian, and Egyptian/Levantine Arabic. It is argued that while standard grammaticalization theory correctly predicts its assumed origin, from a variant of the verb ‘want’ (yibġa, yiba, yibbi > *b-), it does little to predict its further development. This paper first examines the functions of the prefix *b-. Once integrated as a prefix, *b- takes odd twists and turns, sometimes a tense marker, sometimes a marker of deontic modality, sometimes a generalized modal/indicative marker. Grammaticalization theory says nothing about why *b- should have developed in one way in one dialect and in another way in another. As a step towards answering these questions, the idea of dialects as speech communities is introduced.

Keywords:   Arabic, historical linguistics, grammaticalization theory, variation and change, speech community, language reconstruction, tense-mode marker, b-prefix

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .