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Morphosyntactic Effects of NPI-Licensing in Cairene Egyptian Arabic: The Puzzle of -š Disappearance Resolved
Usama Soltan
241-249 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Like other Arabic dialects, Cairene Egyptian Arabic (CEA) exhibits a two-pattern negation system: the circumfixal maa...š-pattern and the independent miš-pattern. However, when the negative polarity item (NPI) ʕumr (= "ever") occurs in pre-negative position in the sentence, the -š segment of the negation morpheme cannot be phonologically realized. Arguing that previous analyses of the structure of NegP in Arabic dialects fail to account for the puzzle of -š disappearance in CEA, I propose in this paper a solution to the puzzle in terms of a Split-Neg analysis of sentential negation in CEA, whereby the -š segment is treated as a separate head, subject to an interface condition that arguably regulates Spell-out of formal features in multiple licensing configurations in general. If correct, the analysis not only explains away a morphosyntactic puzzle from NPI contexts in CEA, but it also provides evidence that NPI phenomena, in addition to being a semantic dependency, may also involve formal feature licensing in a minimalist sense, with effects at the syntax-morphology interface.

Published in

Proceedings of the 29th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Jaehoon Choi, E. Alan Hogue, Jeffrey Punske, Deniz Tat, Jessamyn Schertz, and Alex Trueman
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00