The multiple functionality of the pronoun ulāika in the Qurān

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Demonstrative pronouns may function as deictic or anaphoric pronouns. The demonstrative pronoun ulāika in Arabic is the focus of this paper. It is argued that in the Qurān, besides being an anaphoric/resumptive pronoun, which primarily functions as the syntactic subject, it has three additional functions: (1) as a resumptive pronoun of the left-dislocation construction, helping in retrieving the predicate, which usually consists of a short clause following a ‘heavy’ subject. (2) Possibly it has the same function as damīr al-fasl, ‘separation pronoun’—namely, ulāika occurs in a simple sentence where it separates a definite subject and a definite predicate. It also occurs between subject and predicate, while both are constructed as relative clauses, and between a ‘heavy’ subject and indefinite predicate. (3) As a number marker in conditional clauses that are headed by the conditional particle man, and two kinds of number agreement are exhibited in the clause: singular and plural.ulāika in this case marks the transition from the grammatical-number feature associated with man to the notional number of man.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-66
Number of pages20
JournalActa Orientalia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest


  • Demonstrative pronoun
  • Heaviness
  • Left-dislocation structure
  • Number-marker
  • Predicate-marker
  • Segmentation device
  • Separation pronoun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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