Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisorSong, Jae
dc.contributor.advisorHatfield, Hunter
dc.contributor.authorAl-Zaghir, Zainab Marzouk
dc.date.available2014-03-10T01:40:54Z
dc.date.copyright2014
dc.identifier.citationAl-Zaghir, Z. M. (2014). Relativisation and Accessibility: A Corpus Analysis of Relative Clauses in Arabic Written Texts (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/4647en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10523/4647
dc.description.abstractKeenan and Comrie (1977) posited that the Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy (NPAH) is a universal hierarchy determining the use of relative clauses in written and spoken communication. The NPAH states that the accessibility to relativisation follows the order, from the most to the least accessible: Subject (SU)> Direct Object (DO)> Indirect Object (IO)> Oblique (OBL)> Genitive (GEN)> Object of Comparison (OCOMP). Keenan (1975) suggested that the distribution of relative clauses in corpora reflects their accessibility, as predicted by the NPAH, with SU being the most accessible grammatical position to relativisation. Discourse functions of relative clauses, such as characterisation and anchoring, have also been argued to determine accessibility. Accordingly, Fox (1987) proposed the Absolutive Hypothesis (AH), which states that intransitive subject (ISU) relative clauses and (DO) relative clauses are more accessible than transitive subject (TSU) relative clauses. Other factors can influence the frequency of relative clauses in corpora, including genre (Jensen, 1999), spoken vs. written language (Gordon & Hendrick, 2005) and time period (Hogbin & Song, 2007). This thesis simultaneously considers the role of multiple factors on the frequency of relative clauses in Arabic texts. Considered factors can be categorised into two types: (1) construction-external factors, which include language variety (dialect) and genre, and (2) construction-internal factors, which include characteristics of the head such as definiteness, grammatical position in the main clause and animacy. Among these factors, variety is of particular importance. One standard variety may not be enough to represent a language (Fleischer, 2004). Arabic countries commonly exhibit diglossia, where there are different varieties used (Ferguson, 1959). This study deals with relativisation in three varieties: Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic and Iraqi Arabic. Thus, this study is one of the first to test a universal hierarchy on a dialectical basis. In this study, relative clauses are classified into seven grammatical positions—TSU, ISU, DO, IO, OBL, GEN, OCOMP— and analysed statistically using multi-level Poisson regression analysis (Baayen, 2008; Keune, Ernestus, Van Hout, & Baayen, 2005). The results show that absolutive relative clauses (ISU+ DO) are the most frequent relative clauses used in Arabic texts, and this result shows a consistency among the three varieties and the two genres (fiction and non-fiction). Moreover, IO relative clauses are not found to be as frequent as predicted by the NPAH. The full order of relative clauses used in Arabic written texts is ABS> TSU, OBL> GEN> OTHERS, where OTHERS includes IO and OCOMP due to their small percentages. This order is found in Modern Standard Arabic and Iraqi Arabic, but not in Classical Arabic, where OBL is greater than TSU, and it is found in nonfiction but not in fiction where the TSU is greater than OBL. Furthermore, it is found that animacy of the heads of relative clauses plays a significant role in determining the distribution of relative clauses in the texts. Animacy determines whether the NPAH or the AH is manifested in the distribution of relative clauses in a text. The effect of animacy is not restricted to the upper grammatical positions, but also the lower positions, where the GEN position appears consistently higher than the OBL position when the heads of relative clauses refer to animate referents. Thus, accessibility to relativisation does not always follow a single universal hierarchy. This thesis also investigates the use of relativisation strategies (the pronoun retention strategy and the gap strategy) in Arabic relative clauses. This study aims to find the basis on which these two relativisation strategies are used in light of the NPAH and other theories. The results show that the resumptive pronoun is mainly used to avoid ambiguous sentences and grammatical violations, in particular the preposition stranding rule. Moreover, there are several factors that determine the use of the resumptive pronoun over the gap including definiteness, the distance between the head and the relativised noun phrase, and the obligatoriness of the relativised noun phrase.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectnoun phrase accessibility hierarchy
dc.subjectcorpus analysis
dc.subjectArabic varieties
dc.subjectAbsolutive hypothesis
dc.subjectfiction and nonfiction
dc.subjectdefiniteness
dc.subjectanimacy
dc.subjectthe grammatical position of the headNP in the main clause
dc.subjectdistribution of relative clauses in written texts
dc.subjectdiglossia
dc.subjectresumptive pronouns
dc.subjectthe use of the pronoun retention strategy in relativization in Arabic
dc.subjectsubject relative clauses
dc.subjectdirect object relative clauses
dc.subjectindirect object relative clauses
dc.subjectoblique relative clauses
dc.subjectgenitive relative clauses
dc.subjectobject of comparison relative clauses
dc.subjectmulti-level regression analysis
dc.subjectClassical Arabic
dc.subjectModern Standard Arabic
dc.subjectIraqi Arabic
dc.subjectfrequency of relative clauses in written texts
dc.subjectالجمل الموصولة في اللغه العربيهar
dc.subjectاللهجات العربيهar
dc.subjectاللغة العربيه الفصحىar
dc.subjectفصحى التراثar
dc.subjectفصحى العصرar
dc.subjectاللهجه العراقيهar
dc.subjectإستخدام الجمل الموصولة في النصوص الفصحىar
dc.subjectإستخدام الجمل الموصولة في الروايات العراقيةar
dc.subjectإستخدام الضمير العائد في الجمل الموصولةar
dc.subjectإستخدام الأسماء الموصولة مع الأسماء المعرفةar
dc.subjectالجمل الموصولة مع العاقل و غير العاقلar
dc.titleRelativisation and Accessibility: A Corpus Analysis of Relative Clauses in Arabic Written Texts
dc.typeThesis
dc.date.updated2014-03-10T00:03:41Z
dc.language.rfc3066en
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglish and Linguistics
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Otago
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
otago.openaccessOpen
 Find in your library

Files in this item

Thumbnail

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record