UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Safiah Madkhali


Arabic is a language that makes extensive use of the so-called cognate object construction, which is made up of two elements: a lexical verb plus an accusative-case marked NP that is represented by a verbal derived N called the maṣdar in Arabic; the verb and the N are morphologically and semantically related, as can be seen in (1). 1) ibtasamat ibtis�mat-an ja���batan smile.pst attractive ‘She smiled an attractive smile.’ The cognate object construction has been the focus of much interest for many authors cross-linguistically, and yet it remains an understudied linguistic phenomenon in Arabic. The majority of studies have been carried out in a very traditional framework. They provide brief descriptions concerning the construction and do not make the more precise and well-defined distinctions required for a modern analysis (see e.g. Al-Galayni 1993; Ryding 2005; Salehbeik & Ghorbani 2014). Therefore, in this thesis I provide a linguistic characterization of the construction in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) which covers morphological, syntactic, semantic aspects. I indicate that in Arabic the cognate object construction incorporates a network of types that exhibit variations at the different linguistic levels. The thesis also attempts to answer the recurrent question in the literature regarding the semantic and syntactic status of the cognate object. In works such as Kim & Lim (2010) and Pereltsvaig (2016), cognate objects are of two types; there are cognate objects that function as direct objects of the verb, and there are cognate objects that function as predicates. In previous analyses, cognate objects have been awarded a unified treatment. They are analysed as thematic arguments, as in the works of Macfarland (1995); Höche (2009); and, more specifically as structural thematic objects in Massam (1990). In other works, cognate objects are analysed as adjuncts (Jones 1988) or as predicates (Mittwoch 1998; Mirto 2007; Horrocks & Stavrou 2010). In this thesis, I provide extensive evidence based on objecthood, referentiality and the diagnostic properties of predicative NPs. I argue that there are at least three types of cognate objects in Arabic: (i) cognate objects that function as direct objects of the verb which are found in a transitive or a ditransitive construction; (ii) cognate objects that function as coverbs and hence create a complex predicate; and (iii) cognate objects that function as adjuncts. Therefore, I aim in this thesis to fill the gap in the literature on the study of the construction in Arabic, to revalidate the significant works by Kim & Lim (2010) and Pereltsvaig (2016) in revealing the heterogeneous nature of the construction, and the significant work by Massam (1990), which reveals the objecthood of certain types of cognate objects which superficially appear as distinct from ordinary objects and were hence analyzed differently in the literature.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2017