Durative aspect markers in modern Arabic dialects : cross-dialectal functions and historical development
This study explores the durative aspectual forms in modern spoken Arabic dialects. It analyzes and compares the synchronic functions and proposes possible paths of diachronic development for the majority of attested durative forms. For the synchronic analysis, the study promotes the role of context in understanding the functions of aspectual forms. It is only through context that we can interpret meanings that forms alone do not express. Observing this principle, the study examines the use of durative markers in a database that is composed of various contextualized texts. Diachronically, the study proposes a refinement of the theory of the locative source for the grammaticalization of durative marking that has become standard cross-linguistically. The approach presented here corresponds semantically with the functions expressed by the durative markers and allows for multiple membership of source lexemes. The major sources that are proposed are stative-continuous, temporal prepositions and emphatic forms. Then, an outline of diachronic development is synthesized from the findings of the synchronic analysis and historical reports of constant population contact to speculate on the possible paths of development for each durative marker from the proposed sources. These paths are considered according to the principles of functional grammar development; i.e., grammaticalization, borrowing and contact-induced grammaticalization. The study examines these different proposals and provides justifications for supporting the most likely cases of development while ruling out the less possible paths. This study concludes with a summary of the most probable paths of development for durative markers in modern spoken Arabic.