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Verbal nouns: Theta theoretic studies in Hebrew and Arabic

Ilan Hazout, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation is a study of a variety of constructions in Modern Hebrew and Standard Arabic which involve nominalization processes. Such constructions manifest a certain mixture of verbal and nominal properties and are analyzed as involving a verbal subconstituent, a VP, governed by an underlying nominal head, a nominalizer. The surface form of the deverbal head of such constructions is the output of a head movement operation adjoining a verb to the nominalizer which governs it. The properties and the differences between the different types of nominalization constructions are explained on the basis of certain assumptions about the thematic properties, the argument structure, of the different nominalizers that are postulated. The heads of nominalization constructions are morphological as well as thematic nominalizers in that they provide, in addition to a particular morphological shape, an argument structure particular to nouns. In this approach to verbal nouns, the mixed properties of these constructions are derived from the properties of underlying verbs and nouns occurring within a particular configuration. This approach to nominalizations is embedded within a particular approach to thematic relations and argument structure combined with theoretical techniques developed in recent work within the Government and Binding theory, in particular, the operation known as head movement. Chapter 1 presents the main theoretical assumptions and includes some proposals concerning the structure of infinitival clauses and the phenomenon of obligatory control. Chapter 2 is a comprehensive study of genitive constructions in Hebrew and Arabic. Chapter 3 is a study of Action Nominalization constructions and includes a detailed argumentation in a favour of a non-lexicalist approach. Chapter 4 investigates and compares the properties of two types of infinitival constructions, standard infinitives and the verbal gerund, a construction which is particular to Modern Hebrew. Chapter 5 studies the Agent Nominalization construction and the Benoni relative, a construction which is analyzed as involving a definite article functioning as a thematic nominalizer and an abstract adjectival morpheme which functions as a morphological nominalizer.

Subject Area

Linguistics|Middle Eastern literature

Recommended Citation

Hazout, Ilan, "Verbal nouns: Theta theoretic studies in Hebrew and Arabic" (1991). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9132863.