An Optimality Theory Account of the Non-concatenative Morphology of the Nominal System of Libyan Arabic, with Special Reference to the Broken Plural
Author: Gaber Gaber Date: 2012 Institution: University of Durham Subject:Linguistics
Abstract: This work presents a full and unified investigation of the phenomenon of non-concatenative nominal morphology in Libyan Arabic (LA), with special reference to the formation of the broken plural (BP). The analysis provides a morphophonological account of morphologically derived words in LA. It is based on two main ideas: the first is specifying the input for the derivational morphological process which represents the underlying structure of the derived word; the second is to account for the phonological constraints which interact with each other on the underlying structure in order to determine the optimal output for the derived word.
In contrast to previous studies which fail to recognize derivational morphological processes and consequently cannot identify the nature of the input of the derived word, this thesis identifies the input as the starting point to justify the resulting derived output.
This thesis argues that the nature of the input in non-concatenative morphology must be accounted for first. The morphological process starts when elements of the input which are carried over to the output are identified, and the specified derivational morphemes are supplied. These together form the underlying structure of any derived word. The underlying structure of the derived word in this thesis is considered to be the string of root consonants and any morphological component associated with the input, plus the derivational morphemes of the intended morphological process. As a consequence of identifying the nature of the input, the template which has been associated with Arabic language, is revealed in this thesis that it is not a primitive but rather it is an artefact of the phonology operating on morphological products. Thus, phonology has no role in the underlying structure, but comes into play to repair any ill-formed surfaced structure. The types of constraints which operate on the outputs are phonological constraints concerning markedness and faithfulness constraints. The function of markedness constraints is to maintain the well-formedness of the output, while the function of faithfulness constraints is to preserve the morphological identity of the components of the underlying structure.