The Location of Sentential Negation in Arabic Varieties

Elabbas Benmamoun, Mahmoud Abunasser, Rania Al-Sabbagh, Abdelaadim Bidaoui, Dana Shalash

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper revisits the issue of the representation of sentential negation in Arabic varieties with particular reference to Standard Arabic and four colloquial varieties, Egyptian Arabic, Gulf/Kuwaiti Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, and Jordanian Arabic/Levantine Arabic. The goals are both empirical and conceptual. Empirically, the paper incorporates data from different Arabic varieties including varieties that have not figured prominently in recent debates about sentential negation in Arabic. Conceptually, the paper aims to engage the important topic of the location of the negative projection relative to the projection that carries the temporal information of the clause. The paper also discusses some patterns that, so far, have not received extensive attention and which provide strong support for locating the negative projection above the temporal projection. The overall goal is to broaden the debate about the syntax and morphology of negation in Arabic varieties and add critical and novel facts that any diachronic or synchronic analysis would want to take into account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-116
Number of pages34
JournalBrill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Arabic
  • Egyptian Arabic
  • Jordanian Arabic
  • Kuwaiti Arabic
  • Moroccan Arabic
  • Standard Arabic
  • TP
  • discontinuous negation
  • negation
  • negative projection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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