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American Association of Teachers of Arabic

Scholarly Publications

  • 23 Oct 2013 9:42 AM | AATA Admin (Administrator)

    Two New Articles: Subject Expression and Intrusive -n

    "Subject expression and discourse embeddedness in Emirati Arabic" Language Variation and Change, 25/3: 255-85, 2013 JONATHAN OWENS, ROBIN DODSWORTH, MARY KOHN

    Since Prince (1981) and Givón (1983), studies on discourse reference have explained the grammatical realization of referents in terms of general concepts such as “assumed familiarity” or “discourse coherence.” In this paper, we develop a complementary approach based on a detailed statistical tracking of subjects in Emirati Arabic, from which two major categories of subject expression emerge. On the one hand, null subjects are opposed to overt ones; on the other, subject-verb (SV) is opposed to verb-subject (VS). Although null subjects strongly correlate with coreferentiality with the subject of the previous clause, they can also index more distant referents within a single episode. With respect to SV vs. VS, morpholexical classes are found to be biased toward one or the other: nouns are typically VS, pronouns SV. We conclude that the null subject variant is the norm in Emirati Arabic, and when an overt subject is appropriate, lexical identity biases the subject into SV or VS order, generating word order as a discourse-relevant parameter. Overall, our approach attempts to understand Arabic discourse from a microlevel perspective.

    "The Historical Linguistics of the Intrusive *-n in Arabic and West Semitic" Journal of the American Oriental Society 133.2: 217-47, 2013. Jonathan Owens

    A much discussed morpheme in Semitic historical linguistics is the suffix *-n. Its reflexes include the energic in Classical Arabic, the ventive in Akkadian, and many languages with a [V – n – object pronoun] reflex. Explanations of its origins fall broadly into two camps. One sees it originally as a proto-Semitic verbal suffix, while the other derives it from a grammaticalization of an originally independent [deictic/presentative + object pronoun] element. This paper argues for the correctness of the second explanation, to which end a general reconstruction of the historical development of the morpheme in West Semitic is developed, with particular attention given to Arabic. Although a modest and unobtrusive morpheme, it is argued that the linguistics of *-n is of considerable significance for conceptualizations of Arabic and Semitic historical linguistics.

  • 25 Apr 2011 1:05 PM | Anonymous

    Version 0.3 of the Quranic Arabic Corpus

    The Quranic Arabic Corpus ( is an international collaborative linguistic project initiated at the University of Leeds that aims to bridge the gap between the traditional Arabic grammar of i'rab and techniques from modern computational linguistics. This open source resource includes word-by-word part-of-speech tagging for the Quran, morphological segmentation and a formal representation of Quranic Arabic syntax using dependency graphs. Version 0.3 of the corpus includes a number of significant improvements over the previous 0.2 release.

    The Quranic Arabic Corpus is an open source project. Contributions or questions about the research are more than welcome. Please direct any correspondence to Kais Dukes, PhD researcher at the School of Computing, University of Leeds:



    reposted from Arabic-L

  • 25 Apr 2011 1:04 PM | Anonymous

    A Structural Analysis of Moroccan, Arabic, and English Intra-sentential Code Switching

    Najat Benchiba-Savenius

    A Structural Analysis of Moroccan Arabic and English Intra-Sentential Code Switching is a critical investigation of the merging of two typologically dissimilar languages, Moroccan Arabic and English as spoken in the UK by speakers of the Moroccan community. Such a phenomenon occurs when speakers use a code-switched style during bilingual discourse resulting in the merging of two grammars. This volume explores linguistic differences amongst speakers of different generational groups in the British-Moroccan community. An innovative form of syntax termed 'Reactive Syntax' is presented together with theoretical and practical analysis of new data. 

    Najat Benchiba-Savenius explores sound observations in bilingualism and provides unique data throughout this major study. This is explored in full and corroborated by sound empirical evidence gathered during the course of this study. The grammatical outcome of such code switched utterances is quantitatively and qualitatively detailed through natural parsing by
    bilingual speakers of Moroccan Arabic and English. The main theories and syntactic approaches to intra-sentential code switching are examined and previous research and theoretical models are also challenged. 

    This investigation is a useful tool in language contact, bilingualism, psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics in general. It is particularly of interest in the field of syntax, general and complex morphology as well as bilingual studies.

    For further information, please see:

    reposted from Arabic-L

  • 25 Apr 2011 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    A brief Introduction to the Semitic Languages

    Aaron D. Rubin
    With a written history of nearly five thousand years, the Semitic languages comprise one of the world's earliest attested and longest attested families. Well known members of the family include Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Amharic, and Akkadian. This volume provides an overview of this important language family, including both ancient and modern languages. After a brief introduction to the history of the family and its internal classification, subsequent chapters cover topics in phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon. Each chapter describes features that are characteristic of the Semitic language family as a whole, as well as some of the more
    extraordinary developments that take place in the individual languages. This provides both a typological overview and a description of more unique features. The chapters contain abundant examples from numerous languages. All the examples include morpheme by morpheme glosses, as well as translations, which help make these examples clear and accessible even to those not familiar with a given language. Concluding the book is a detailed guide to further reading, which directs the reader to the most important reference tools and secondary literature, and an up-to-date bibliography.

    This brief introduction contains a rich variety of data, and covers topics not normally found in short sketches such as this. The clarity of presentation makes it useful not only to those in the field of Semitic linguistics, but also to the general linguist or language enthusiast who wishes to learn something about this important language family. 

    For further information, see:

    reposted from Arabic-L

  • 25 Apr 2011 12:57 PM | Anonymous

    Wortatlas der arabischen dialekte band i: mensch, natur, fauna und flora

    Peter Behnstedt, Manfred Woidich
    The Wortatlas der arabischen Dialekte / Word Atlas of Arabic Dialects (WAD) intends to provide an unprecedented survey of the lexical richness and diversity of the Arabic dialects as spoken from Uzbekistan to Mauritania and Nigeria, from Malta to Sudan, and including the Ki-Nubi Creole as spoken in Uganda and Kenya. The multilingual word atlas will consist of three volumes in total with some 500 onomasiological maps in full colour. Each map presents a topic or notion and its equivalents in Arabic as collected from the dialectological literature (dictionaries, grammars, text collections, ethnographic reports, etc.), from the editors’ own field work, from questionnaires filled out by native speakers or by experts for a certain dialect region, and also from the internet. Polyglot legends in German, English, French, Spanish, Italian accompany the maps to facilitate further access. Each map is followed by a commentary in German, providing more details about the sources and the individual forms, and discussing semantic and etymological issues. All quotations are in their original language. The maps mainly show lexical types, detailed and concrete forms are given in the commentaries. An introduction is provided in both German and English and an index of all lexemes in the atlas will be available.


    The first volume Band I: Mensch, Natur, Fauna und Flora / Volume 1: Mankind, Nature, Fauna and Flora contains subjects such as ‘family members’, ‘professions’, ‘human qualities’. The second volume will deal with material culture (‘house’, ‘utensils’, ‘food’, ‘clothing’, ‘vehicles’, etc.) and the third and final volume will focus on verbs, adjectives and function words. The atlas will be indispensable for everyone interested in the modern spoken Arabic language, as well as for dialectologists and for semanticists.

    For further information, please see

    Reposted from Arabic-L


American Association of Teachers of Arabic (AATA) aims to facilitate communication and cooperation between teachers of Arabic and to promote study, criticism, research and instruction in the field of Arabic language pedagogy, Arabic linguistics and Arabic literature. 

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