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Dirassat

Abstract

The inventory of the negation system in Standard Arabic consists of five commonly used negation elements, (viz.laa, lam, Zan, maa, and laysa), (Abbas, H. 1975). They have different distributional and/or temporal properties. However, the properties of laysa are the most peculiar of all the others (Benmamoun1992).For instance, at the morphological level, it behaves like an auxiliary: it is associated with a present tense specification and it inflects for agreement morphology. At the distributional level, and contrary to the other negation elements, it seems independent of its predicate. In this study, conducted with in the minimalist frame work as developed by Chomsky (1995) and followers in subsequent literature, we propose an analysis which accounts for the peculiarities of laysa and allows its unification with laa and its other variants (viz lam, Zan). The essence of the proposed analysis is to consider laysa a complex word composed of a Neg element and a copular verb.

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