Spatial Prepositions in Modern Standard Arabic 

Mustafa Al-Humari
2015 unpublished
1. Abstract The paper investigates syntactic and semantic properties of spatial prepositions in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). In this paper, I argue that the so-called, by traditional grammarians, dhruuf al-makaan 'Adverbs of Place' such as fawq 'above', taħta 'under', xalf 'behind' etc are just another class of prepositions. Hence, there are two classes of preposition in Arabic: Class 1 Prepositions (henceforth C1 Ps) which contain true prepositions such as ʕala 'on', fi 'in' etc, and Class 2
more » ... repositions (henceforth C2 Ps) which contain a group of so-called adverbs of Place. To motivate my argument for existence of two classes of prepositions in MSA, certain diagnostics are set in line with Svenonius's (2004, 2006) Axial Part (henceforth AxPart) and Pantcheva's (2008) Silent Place. Further, I attempt to unify these proposals in order to capture the co-occurrence of Silent Place and AxPart in the language. Key words: spatial prepositions, Modern Standard Arabic, syntactic and semantic properties 2. Overview and Theoretical Issues In this paper, I follow the same idea in the traditional grammar books of Arabic (e.g., Wright (1874), Haywood & Nahmad (1965), Sibawayhi (1938), Ibn Siraj (1986) and Al-shamsan (1987) among others) that a preposition is a semantic letter associated with nouns; it changes the Case-marking when inserted. In MSA, prepositions can be either morphologically separated from nouns e.g. min 'from' ila 'to' fi 'in/at' etc or attached to the  I would like to thank Prof. Ayesha Kidwai, my guide, for her incessant encouragement and support. Also, thanks for Deepak Alok for the discussion and good company. Being a native speaker of the language under investigation, I mainly rely on my intuitions as well as some Arabic grammar books for the data collection. The abbreviations used throughout the paper are as follows: PRES = present tense, 3SM = 3rd singular masculine, 3SF = 3rd singular feminine, acc = accusative, nom = nominative, gen = genitive, Pl = Plural, Indef = Indefinite Marker, C1 P = Class 1 preposition, C2 P = Class 2 preposition, TAM = Tense and Aspect Morphology, s-selection = semantic selection, c-selection =categorial selection, MSA = Modern Standard Arabic.