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Arabic Indefinites, Interrogatives, and NegatorsA Linguistic History of Western Dialects$
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David Wilmsen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718123.001.0001

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Interrogation and negation with ši in North African and Levantine Arabic

Interrogation and negation with ši in North African and Levantine Arabic

Chapter:
(p.90) 5 Interrogation and negation with ši in North African and Levantine Arabic
Source:
Arabic Indefinites, Interrogatives, and Negators
Author(s):

David Wilmsen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718123.003.0005

Polar and copular interrogatives ending in -š like those of Andalusi Arabic have been documented since the late 18th century in the peripheral Arabic dialect Maltese, that variety also negating with -š. This is significant because Maltese retains features of the North African dialect spoken in the 8th and10th centuries in what is now Tunis, Arabic speakers populating the Maltese islands in that era. For their parts, the old urban Tunisian dialects retain a polar interrogative šī, including copular interrogative 3rd person pronouns, and they negate with -š. Remnants of copular interrogatives persist in Moroccan and Egyptian vernacular Arabic, copular negation with -š remaining productive in Arabic dialects from the Yemen, the southern and highland Levant, and across coastal North Africa.

Keywords:   Arabic copular interrogatives, Arabic copular negation, Arabic polar interrogatives, Maltese polar interrogatives, highland Levantine Arabic dialects

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