Case Conflict in Arabic Relative Clauses: A Phase-Based Approach




agreement, Arabic, case conflict, Minimalism, relative clause


Case conflict in relative clauses is observed when a relative pronoun carries Case different from the one associated with its base position. Instead, it appears with Case that is identical to Case of its antecedent that is external to the relative clause. This phenomenon - commonly referred to as Case Attraction - is attested in languages such as Ancient Greek, Latin, and German. It is also easily observed in Modern Standard Arabic where the relative pronoun shows agreement in Case, gender and number with the noun modified by the relative clause. The original position of the relative pronoun is normally filled with a resumptive pronoun that represents the features of the relative pronoun. This study adopts the most recent assumptions of the Minimalist Program to account for the behavior of Arabic relative pronouns. It assumes that the relative clause is right adjoined to the noun it modifies and the relative pronoun moves to a left peripheral position within the structure of the relative clause leaving behind a copy. At a later stage of the derivation, Case of the relative pronoun is unified with Case of its antecedent. The unified Case feature is then valued under Agree with a higher head.

Author Biography

Mamdouh A. Alenazy, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Jordan

Associate Professor

Department of English Language and Literature

Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Jordan


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Date of Publication

2023-10-05 — Updated on 2024-01-02

How to Cite

Alenazy, M. A. (2024). Case Conflict in Arabic Relative Clauses: A Phase-Based Approach. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies, 24(1), 207–224.



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