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-āt Drink Your Milks! āt as Individuation Marker in Levantine Arabic

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Chapter Summary

The suffix -āt is well known as a plural marker across varieties and registers of Arabic for many feminine nouns, words of foreign origin, and certain other morphological classes of nouns with a fair degree of predictability. The singulative form and meaning of nouns like samke and ṭabkha gives their -āt plurals a relatively high degree of individuation, meaning that they will tend to refer to specific, prominent, individual entities. shrāb ḥalῑbātak! Drink that milk (literally, your milks)! ḥalῑbātak ‘milk(s)’ is not by nature a countable substance, unless one were referring to servings, or glasses, or perhaps cow “milkings,” but here it surely does not refer to more than one serving of milk that the poor addressee must consume. The ḥalῑbātak plurals provide further evidence of the importance of individuation features in explaining nominal marking in Levantine Arabic.

Keywords: ḥalῑbātak plurals; -āt; Levantine Arabic; plural marker



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