The Conjunction ḥayṯu in Modern Written Arabic: A Feature of Linguistic Simplification?

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The common approach is that conjunctions have distinctive properties and they are bundled with specific semantic-syntactic features. I propose that we are currently witnessing the grammaticalization process of ḥayṯu (which has the basic locative meaning ‘where’) in modern written Arabic. Namely, ḥayṯu, alongside its classical local meaning, communicates a wide array of different interpretations and different logical relations. I also argue that since ḥayṯu is still in its early grammaticalization stages, it would be impossible at this point to develop any understanding of the type of semantic-syntactic context ḥayṯu is used in. However, by presenting examples of the occurrence of ḥayṯu in modern written Arabic texts I show the most elementary pragmatic motivation for using ḥayṯu. It serves as a conjunction that helps the writer to maintain the flow of the argument in a text, without investing too much effort in thinking about the syntactic structure of the clause following ḥayṯu and the type of relation it establishes among the syntactic units.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-35
Number of pages19
JournalStudi Classici e Orientali
StatePublished - 5 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

P. 17-35


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