Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) has several embedded clause constructions, some of which resemble control in English (and other languages). However, these constructions exhibit some notable differences. Chief among them is the fact that the embedded verb carries agreement features that can indicate both coreference and disjoint reference between a matrix argument and the subject of the complement clause. Through a corpus-based investigation, informed by previous insights regarding the distinction between control and no control, we found no evidence of obligatory control predicates in MSA; these findings contradict accepted generalizations (and predictions) proposed by state-of-the-art theories of control. Nevertheless, although no obligatory control predicates were found, the backward pattern, where the single expressed subject occurs in the embedded clause, revealed morphosyntactic reflexes of the control vs. no control distinction. Coreference between the expressed embedded subject and the unexpressed matrix subject was found to be restricted to a set of predicates. The existence of backward control and its relation to the backward raising construction, also found in MSA, are especially relevant for current debates regarding the theory of control. We propose an analysis that ties together control, raising and restructuring.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no 505/11). We are extremely grateful to Livnat Herzig Sheinfux for her continuous support, and to Abdel-naser Jabarin for expert judgements and much advice on the intricacies of MSA. We are grateful to three Glossa anonymous reviewers for many helpful and constructive comments; we are especially indebted to one of them, whose detailed, constructive suggestions transformed this paper and significantly improved it. All remaining errors and misconceptions are, of course, our own.
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- Modern Standard Arabic