The Low IP Area in Arabic: Somber Prospects
Ali Alzayid
November 2022

In this paper we present empirical evidence which militates against the existence of a discourse-laden low IP, harking back to Cecchetto (1999), Villalba (2000) and Belletti (2001, 2004), among others. In particular, we argue that right dislocation in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), qua discursive articulation, is at odds with the argument that there is an information-structural area sandwiched between IP and vP, and in favour of a clause-external analysis which locates right-dislocated phrases IP-externally. This claim is based on inspecting the properties of right dislocated elements in MSA relative to binding under Condition C, licensing negative polarity items, agreement alternation and wide focus. The analysis crucially proves to present a unified account of focus in MSA, where we maintain that the apparent complexity and diversity of focus in this language is illusory, and epiphenomenal, emerging from the interaction of focus expressions and right dislocation, viz., focalization in MSA occurs in situ, specifically in the rightmost position, with string-initial focus and string-internal focus being taken to be a reflex of an interfering right dislocation process targeting an IP-external position. The resulting outcome thus strongly lends support to Samek Lodovici’s (2006) model of a focus-less split CP, and likewise casts a shadow of a doubt on the viability of the cartographic approach to MSA à la Ouhalla (1994a, 1997) and Shlonsky (2000).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006922
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted
keywords: modern standard arabic, information structure, right dislocation, focus, split cp
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