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Impersonal Verb

(2,192 words)

Author(s): Alain Girod
1. Introduction According to a classic definition, “An impersonal verb is a verb that occurs only in third person singular forms, has no specified agent, and has a dummy subject or no subject” ( The notion of ‘impersonal verb’ seems to have been unknown to Arab grammarians, who assumed that all verbs have either a ‘real’ subject ( fāʿil) or a ‘substitute for the subject’ ( nāʾib fāʿil). Blachère (1975:266) highlights this ambiguity as follows: “L'appellation de verbe unipersonnel paraît devoir être préférée à celle de verbe impersonnel”. Ther…
Date: 2018-04-01


(2,264 words)

Author(s): Alain Girod
1. Introduction The word ‘elative’, from the Latin elatio, noun of action of the verb efferre ‘to elevate’, refers to a morphosemantic entity and expresses in one word what traditional Arabic grammar expresses in two words, ʾafʿalu at-tafḍīl. ʾAfʿalu indicates, through the conventional f-ʿ-l paradigm of Arabic grammar, the word pattern ( aṣ-ṣīġa ‘pattern, scheme’) and at-tafḍīl ‘superiority’ indicates the intended meaning among all the possible different meanings of this pattern (e.g. the masculine singular pattern of the adjective of color, ʾaswadu ‘black’, or the 1st perso…
Date: 2018-04-01