Contact-induced grammaticalization as an impetus for arabic dialect development

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2018-04-23

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Leddy-Cecere, Thomas Alexander

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Abstract

This dissertation proposes contact-induced grammaticalization as an account for the widespread occurrence of functionally analogous but etymologically distinct grammatical innovations across modern Arabic dialects. Similarities in functional and semantic details of these grammatical items argue for interrelated development, while diversity in form rules out an origin in common inheritance or matter-based borrowing. The dissertation proposes that these developments are products of the diffusion of grammaticalization pathways between neighboring dialects by means of replication. This hypothesis is evaluated using a sample of attested realizations of three relevant classes of developments (future tense markers, temporal adverbs meaning ‘now’, and genitive exponents) drawn from eighty-one modern Arabic varieties, examined by means of a three-part heuristic which assesses 1) the status of individual innovations as examples of grammaticalization, 2) the multiple replication of attested grammaticalization pathways, and 3) the geographical distribution of modern reflexes as indicating a history of areal diffusion. The results demonstrate substantial evidence for the role of contact-induced grammaticalization in all three sets of developments examined, and the dissertation concludes by discussing the significance of these findings for the study of Arabic diachrony and contact-induced grammaticalization theory more broadly.

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