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Grammaticalizations Based on the Verb kāna in Arabic Dialects

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses a number of grammaticalizations based on various inflected forms of the Old Arabic (OA) verb kāna, yakūnu 'to be' in the modern Arabic dialects. These grammaticalizations which fulfill different grammatical and syntactic functions are spread unevenly over the present day Arabic-speaking area. Some of them have been discussed in the framework of the description of individual Arabic dialects but they have never been treated together as a group of morphemes sharing the same etymological source. Among the expressions used to indicate that something exists (verbum existentiae, 'there is') there are two forms which are clearly grammaticalizations based on forms of the verb kāna 'to be'. Present tense markers are morphemes which are prefixed to an imperfect in order to mark the action as present. There are two present tense markers derived from forms of the verb kāna.

Keywords: Arabic dialects; grammaticalizations; kāna; old Arabic (OA) verb; present tense; syntactic functions



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