Theory, conventions, and the assessment of facts
Grammatical structures built upon reflexes of šī in Arabic dialects, especially interrogatives and negators, have attracted much attention within Arabic linguistics. Theoretical and descriptive approaches to grammatical ši within the discipline largely assume that the grammatical markers are derived from the Arabic word for ‘thing’, implicitly borrowing concepts from grammaticalization theory and other theoretical orientations to describe the processes involved, thereby acquiescing in the assumption that Arabic must conform to theory, although exerting little influence on linguistic theory writ large. Furthermore, Arabic linguistics does not habitually gather insights from comparative studies of the closely related Semitic languages, tending to restrict itself to the domains of Arabic literature or dialectology. Comparison with Semitic languages, however, adds explanatory depth, often contravening theoretical concepts.
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