Defining unaccusatives in Sudanese Arabic


Sudanese Arabic
locative inversion

How to Cite

Taha, M., & Mohammed Sultan, F. M. (2022). Defining unaccusatives in Sudanese Arabic. Southeastern Philippines Journal of Research and Development, 27(1), 1-20.


This article explores the properties of unaccusatives in spoken Sudanese Arabic within the minimalist program. The overall aim is to testify the Unaccusative Hypothesis, in particular, the thematic and argument structure, locative inversion, there-insertion and passivization against the data from Sudanese Arabic. Grammatical judgment questionnaires were given to 10 native Sudanese speakers to test their intuition about unaccusatives. Parallel to the available literature, unaccusatives in Sudanese Arabic are defined by their semantic properties reflected syntactically in their thematic and argument structure. Unaccusatives can appear in locative inversion construction and in thereinsertion structures but cannot undergo passivization. This class of predicates takes a single argument, assigning the thematic role as Theme. Structurally, the single argument of unaccusative verbs moves from its canonical object position within VP to non-canonical surface subject position in [Spec, TP], making the structural derivation of unaccusative similar to that of passives, in that both lack external argument as well as both involve argument raising from lower position to higher position. The findings of this study manifest that languages of the world share some common properties even though they belong to different families. This in turn, provides rich information to comparative syntax, linguistic theories, and language typology.


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