Skip to content

Clitic doubling and language contact in Arabic

Pages 45 - 70


Forms of clitic doubling are attested in a significant number of Arabic varieties, including the Levant and northern Iraq, parts of Algeria and Morocco, Malta, Central Asia, and even, doubtfully, Dhofar. Language contact is widely accepted as an explanation for its presence in the Levant, and has been advanced as an explanation for its occurrence in North Africa, Malta, and Central Asia. However, none of the contact explanations proposed have yet addressed this phenomenon's overall distribution across all of Arabic, usually limiting themselves to one or two regions at a time, and few have examined the parameters along which the relevant constructions vary. Without such an overview, it is not possible to exclude the hypothesis that clitic doubling simply reflects Arabic-internal trends, nor to determine whether its distribution reflects a single innovation or multiple independent ones. Updating the pioneering work of A. FISCHER (1907; 1909), this article demonstrates that clitic doubling has arisen independently within Arabic at least four times under the influence of different substrata/adstrata, and suggests areas in which more data on this construction would be especially useful.

Lameen Souag, LACITO (CNRS, Paris III, Inalco), 7, rue Guy Môquet (bât. D), 94801 Villejuif Cedex, France.

1 ANAGNOSTOPOULOU, E. (1999): Conditions on clitic doubling in Greek. In: RIEMSDIJK, H. C. VAN (ed.): Clitics in the Languages of Europe. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

2 AOUN, J. (1981): The Formal Nature of Anaphoric Relations. MIT PhD thesis.

3 AOUN, J. (1993): The syntax of doubled arguments. In: International Journal of Basque Linguistics and Philology 27(3): 709–730.

4 AOUN, J. (1999): Clitic-doubled arguments. In: JOHNSON, K. – ROBERTS, I. (eds.): Beyond Principles and Parameters: Essays in memory of Osvaldo Jaeggli. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 15–42.

5 AOUN, J. (2011): Clitic. In: EDZARD, L. – DE JONG, R. (ed.): Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics. (2 March, 2015).

6 AQUILINA, J. (1959): The Structure of Maltese: A Study in Mixed Grammar and Vocabulary. Valletta: Royal University of Malta.

7 ARKADIEV, P. (2010): Clitic doubling: Towards a typology. Paper presented at the Workshop on Clitics and Syntactic Typology.

8 BITTNER, M. (1916): Studien zur šḫauri-Sprache in den Bergen von Dofâr am Persischen Meerbusen. Vienna: Alfred Hölder.

9 BLANC, H. (1964): Communal Dialects in Baghdad. (Harvard Middle Eastern Monographs 10). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

10 BLAU, J. (1967): A Grammar of Christian Arabic Based Mainly on South-Palestinian Texts from the First Millennium. Vol. 276. (Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium). Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO.

11 BORG, A. (1984): Kormakiti Arabic: Phonological notes and texts. In: Zeitschrift für Arabische Linguistik 13: 68–85.

12 BORG, A. (1985): Cypriot Arabic. Stuttgart: Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft.

13 BORG, A. (2004): A Comparative Glossary of Cypriot Maronite Arabic (Arabic-English): With an Introductory Essay. (Handbuch der Orientalistik 70). Leiden: Brill.

14 BORG, A. – MIFSUD, M. (2002): Maltese object marking in a Mediterranean context. In: RAMAT, P. – STOLZ, T (eds.): Mediterranean languages. Papers from the MEDTYP workshop, Tirrenia, June 2000. Bochum: Brockmeyer, 33–46.

15 BOUCHERIT, A. (1999): Relation d'appartenance, nom de parenté et substrat berbère. In: LAMBERTI, M. and TONELLI, L. (ed.): Afrosiatica Tergestina. Papers from 9th Italian Meeting of Afro-Asiatic (Hamito-Semitic) Linguistics. Padova: Unipress, 175–186.

16 BOSSONG, G. (1998): Le marquage différentiel de l'objet dans les langues d'Europe. In: FEUILLET, J. (ed.), Actance et valence dans les langues de l'Europe. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 193–258.

17 BROCKELMANN, C. (1982): Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik der semitischen Sprachen. Hildesheim: Georg Olms.

18 BRUSTAD, K. E. (2000): The Syntax of Spoken Arabic: A comparative study of Moroccan, Egyptian, Syrian, and Kuwaiti dialects. Georgetown: Georgetown University Press.

19 CAMILLERI, M. (2011): On pronominal verbal enclitics in Maltese. In: CARUANA, S. – FABRI, R. – STOLZ, TH. (eds.): Variation and Change: The Dynamics of Maltese in Space, Time and Society. Berlin: Akademie, 131–156.

20 CAMILLERI, M. – SADLER L. (2012): On the analysis of non-selected datives in Maltese. In: BUTT, M. – HOLLOWAY KING, T. (eds.): Proceedings of the LFG12 Conference. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

21 ČÉPLÖ, S. (2011): Object reduplication in Maltese. Paper presented at the GĦILM 3rd Conference on Maltese Linguistics, Malta.

22 ČÉPLÖ, S. (2014): An overview of object reduplication in Maltese. In: BORG, A. – CARUANA, S. – VELLA, A. (eds.): Perspectives on Maltese Linguistics. Berlin: Akademie, 201–223.

23 CHATZIKYRIAKIDIS, S. (2010): Clitics in Four Dialects of Modern Greek: A Dynamic Account. London: King's College, University of London PhD thesis.

24 CHIKOVANI, G. (2002): Kaškadariuli dialeqti (fonologia, gramatika, leqsika). Tbilisi: Georgian Academy of Sciences.

25 CHIKOVANI, G. (2003): Central Asian Arabic dialects: The main peculiarities. In: FERRANDO, I. – SANCHEZ SANDOVAL, J. J. (eds.), AIDA 5th Confer-ence Proceedings, Cádiz, September 2002. Cádiz: Universidad de Cádiz, 1–12.

26 CHIKOVANI, G. (2005): Linguistic contacts in Central Asia. In: CSATÓ, É. Á. – JAHANI, I. & C. (eds.): Linguistic convergence and areal diffusion: case studies from Iranian, Semitic and Turkic. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 127–132.

27 COETSEM, F. VAN (1988): Loan phonology and the two transfer types in language contact. (Publications in Language Sciences 27). Dordrecht: Foris.

28 COGHILL, E. (2014): Differential object marking in Neo-Aramaic. Linguistics 52(2). 335–364.

29 CONTINI, R. (1999): Le substrat araméen en néo-arabe libanais: Préliminaires à une enquête systématique. In: LAMBERTI, M. – TONELLI, L. (eds.): Afroasiatica Tergestina: Papers from the 9th Italian Meeting of Afro-Asiatic (Hamito-Semitic) Linguistics. Trieste, April 23–24, 1998 Padova: Unipress, 101–122.

30 CORRELL, CH. (1978): Untersuchungen zur Syntax der neuwestaramäischen Dialekte des Antilibanon: (Ma`lūla, Baḫ`a, Ǧubb`Adīn): mit besonderer Berückssichtigung der Auswirkungen arab. Adstrateinflusses: nebst zwei Anhängen zum neuaramäischen Dialekt von Ǧubb`Adīn (Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 44/4). Mainz: Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft.

31 COWELL, M. W. (1964): A Reference Grammar of Syrian Arabic: Based on the dialect of Damascus. Washington: Georgetown University Press.

32 CRUSCHINA, S. (2011): Discourse-Related Features and Functional Projections. (Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

33 CRUSCHINO, S. (2006): Informational focus in Sicilian and the left periphery. In: FRASCARELLI, M. (ed.): Phases of Interpretation. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 363–385.

34 DAVEY, R. J. (2013): Coastal Dhofārī Arabic: A sketch grammar. Manchester. University of Manchester PhD thesis.

35 DIEM, W. (1979): Studien zur Frage des Substrats im Arabischen. In: Der Islam 56(1): 12–80.

36 ERWIN, W. M. (1963): A Short Reference Grammar of Iraqi Arabic. (Richard Slade Harrell Arabic Series 04). Washington D.C: Georgetown University Press.

37 FABRI, R. (2011): Clitics and non-definite NPs in Maltese. Talk. Paper presented at the GĦILM 3rd Conference on Maltese Linguistics, University of Malta, Valletta.

38 FÉGHALI, M. T. (1928): Syntaxe des parlers arabes actuels du Liban. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale.

39 FISCHER, A. (1907): Eine interessante algerisch-marokkanische Genetivumschreibung. In: Zeitschriften der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 61: 178–195.

40 FISCHER, A. (1909): II. In: Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 61. 825–827.

41 GELDEREN, E. VAN (2011): The Linguistic Cycle: Language Change and the Language Faculty. New York: Oxford University Press.

42 GIVÓN, T. (1976): Topic, Pronoun, and Grammatical Agreement. In: LI, CH. N. (ed.): Subject and Topic. New York: Academic Press.

43 GUELLA, N. (2011): Possessive Constructions in Arabic: A Cross-dialectal Study. (20 February, 2013).

44 ABU-HAIDAR, F. (1979): A Study of the Spoken Arabic of Baskinta. (James G. Furlong Fund v. 28). Leiden: Brill, for the Royal Asiatic Society.

45 ABU-HAIDAR, F. (1991): Christian Arabic of Baghdad. (Semitica Viva 7). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

46 HARRELL, R. S. (1962): A Short Reference Grammar of Moroccan Arabic. (Richard Slade Harrell Arabic Series 01). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

47 HEATH, J. (2002): Jewish and Muslim Dialects of Moroccan Arabic. (RoutledgeCurzon Arabic Linguistics Series). London: RoutledgeCurzon.

48 HEATH, J. (2015): D-possessives and the origins of Moroccan Arabic. In: Diachronica 32(1): 1–33.

49 HOFSTEDE, A. I. (1998): Syntax of Jibbali. University of Manchester Doctoral thesis.

50 HOPKINS, S. (1997): On the construction šmēh l-gabrā ‘the name of the man’ in Aramaic. In: Journal of Semitic Studies 42(1): 23–32.

51 IDO, S. (2007): Bukharan Tajik. Munich: LINCOM Europa.

52 IEMMOLO, G. (2010): Topicality and differential object marking: Evidence from Romance and beyond. In: Studies in Language 34(2): 239–272.

53 JAEGGLI, O. (1982): Topics in Romance Syntax. Dordrecht: Foris.

54 JASTROW, O. (1979): Zur arabischen Mundart von Mossul. In: Zeitschrift für Arabische Linguistik 2: 36–75.

55 JASTROW, O. (1988): Zum arabischen Dialekt der Juden von Arbīl. In: Zeitschrift für Arabische Linguistik 19: 50–59.

56 JASTROW, O. (1990): Der arabische Dialekt der Juden von ʿAqra und Arbīl. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

57 JOHNSTONE, Th. M. (1975): The Spoken Arabic of Tikrit. In: Annual of Leeds University Oriental Society 7: 89–109.

58 JOOSTEN, J. (1996): The Syriac Language of the Peshitta & Old Syria Versions of Matthew: Syntactic Structure, Inner-Syriac Developments & Translation Technique. Leiden: Brill.

59 KALLULLI, D. (2001): Direct Object Clitic Doubling in Albanian and Greek. In: RIVERO, M. L. – RALLI, A. (eds.): Comparative Syntax of Balkan Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

60 KHAN, G. (1984): Object Markers and Agreement Pronouns in Semitic Languages. In: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 47: 468–500.

61 KOUTSOUDAS, A. (1967): Object Particles in Lebanese. In: Journal of the American Oriental Society 87(4): 512–517. doi:10.2307/597592 (25 October, 2013).

62 LANDBERG, C. (1883): Proverbes et dictons de la province de Syrie. (Proverbes et dictons du peuple arabe v. 1). Leiden: E.J. Brill.

63 LEVIN, A. (1987): The Particle la as an object marker in some Arabic dialects of the Galilee. In: Zeitschrift für Arabische Linguistik 17: 31–40.

64 LUCIANI, D. (1889): Les Ouled Athia de l'Oued Zhour. In: Revue Africaine 195: 296–311.

65 MALAIKA, N. (1963): Grundzüge der Grammatik des arabischen Dialektes von Bagdad. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

66 MARÇAIS, PH. (1936): Remarques sur un fait syntaxique du parler arabe d'El-Milia. In: Revue Africaine 79(2): 1047–1055.

67 MARÇAIS, PH. (1952): Le parler arabe de Djidjelli (nord constantinois, Algerie).

68 MARÇAIS, PH. (1977): Esquisse grammaticale de l'arabe maghrébin. Paris: Maisonneuve.

69 MARÇAIS, W. (1902): Le dialecte arabe parlè á Tlemcen: grammaire, textes et glossaire. (Publications de l'école des Lettres d'Alger 26). Paris: E. Leroux.

70 MARÇAIS, W. – GUIGA, A. (1925): Textes arabes de Takroûna: I transcription, traduction annotée, glossaire. Paris: Imprimerie: Bibliothèque de l'école des Languages Orientales Vivantes.

71 MELCER, I. (1995): The Analytical Genitive in the Jewish-Baghdadi Arabic Dialect. In: Zeitschrift für Arabische Linguistik 29: 59–76.

72 MIZZI, P. (2003): Il-Kuluri ta' Malta. (Leġġendi Maltin). Santa Venera: Klabb Kotba Maltin.

73 MOHAMMAD, M. A. (2000): Word order, agreement, and pronominalization in standard and Palestinian Arabic. (Amsterdam Studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Science v. 181). Amsterdam; Philadelphia: J. Benjamins.

74 MORIMOTO, Y. (2002): Prominence Mismatches and Differential Object Marking in Bantu. In: BUTT, M. – HOLLOWAY KING, T. (eds.): Proceedings of the LFG02 Conference. Stanford: CSLI.

75 MURAOKA, T. (1998): A Grammar of Egyptian Aramaic. (Handbuch der Orientalistik Bd. 32). Leiden: Brill.

76 NAÏM, S. (2009): Possessive genitive, dative construction and TAM Categories. In: WATSON, J. – RETSÖ, J. (eds.): Relative Clauses and Genitive Constructions in Semitic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

77 NAÏM, S. (2011): Dialects of the Levant. In: Weninger, S. (ed.): Handbook of Semitic languages. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

78 NÖLDEKE, TH. (1904): Compendious Syriac grammar: Translated from the second German edition by James A. Crichton. London: Williams and Norgate.

79 OSTOYA-DELMAS, S. (1938): Notes préliminaires à l'étude des parlers de l'arrondissement de Philippeville. In: Revue Africaine 82: 60–83.

80 PALERMO, J. (1976): Il problema del siciliano. Alcune isoglosse ibero-siciliane relevanti. In: VÀRVARO, A. (ed.): XIV Congresso Internazionale di Linguistica e Filologia Romanza, Napoli, 15–20 Aprile 1974. Napoli/Amsterdam: Macchiaroli/Benjamins, 17–29.

81 POPPE, N. (1962): Uzbek newspaper reader: with glossary. (Indiana University Publications 010). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

82 RATCLIFFE, R. (2005): Bukhara Arabic: A Metatypized Dialect of Arabic in Central Asia. In CSATÓ, É. A. – JAHANI, I. & C. (eds.): Linguistic Convergence and Areal Diffusion: Case studies from Iranian, Semitic and Turkic. Psychology Press, 141–151.

83 RHODOKANAKIS, N. (1908): Der vulgärarabische Dialekt im Dofâr (Zfâr). Wien: A. Hölder.

84 RUBIN, A. D. (2014): The Jibbali (Shaḥbri) language of Oman: grammar and texts. (Studies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics 72). Leiden: Brill.

85 SCHATTNER-RIESER, U. (2004): L'araméen des manuscrits de la mer Morte: 1. Grammaire. Lausanne: Editions du Zèbre.

86 SCIASCIA, L. (1998): Il giorno della civetta. (Ed.) Gerard Slowey. (Italian Texts). Manchester: Manchester University Press.

87 SHLONSKY, U. (1997): Clause Structure and Word Order in Hebrew and Arabic: An Essay in Comparative Semitic Syntax. (Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

88 SOUAG, L. (2005): Notes on the Algerian Arabic Dialect of Dellys. In: Estudios de Dialectología Norteafricana y Andalusí 9.

89 SOUAG, L. (2014): The development of dative agreement in Berber: beyond nominal hierarchies. In: Transactions of the Philological Society. Early View. doi:10.1111/1467-968X.12049 (2 March, 2015).

90 SUÑER, M. (1988): The role of agreement in clitic-doubled constructions. In: Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 6: 391–434.

91 SUTCLIFFE, E. F. (1936): A Grammar of the Maltese Language. London: Oxford University Press.

92 VINNIKOV, I. N. (1969): Jazyk i fol'klor Buxarskix Arabov. Moscow: Nauka.

93 WENINGER, S. (2011): Aramaic-Arabic language contact. In: WENINGER, S. (ed.): The Semitic Languages: An International Handbook. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

94 WHITEHEAD, J. D. 1978: Some distinctive features of the language of the Aramaic Arsames correspondence. In: Journal of Near Eastern Studies 37(2): 119–140.


Export Citation