Adherence to Mirror Image Hierarchy: Evidence from Modern Standard and Libyan Arabic

Atiega, Awasha Mohamed orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3322-664X, Morse, Saadia and Elkhodairy, Marwa Mahmoud reda abdelaziz m (2022) Adherence to Mirror Image Hierarchy: Evidence from Modern Standard and Libyan Arabic. Journal of Semitic Studies . ISSN 0022-4480

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Referring to a specific object sometimes requires using several modifiers, such as adjectives with nouns to describe objects. The ordering of these adjectives is generally assumed to adhere to universal hierarchies. It is, therefore, predicted that prenominal (e.g. English) languages present preferred ordering, and postnominal (Arabic) languages are further expected to mirror the ordering observed in those prenominal languages. This paper investigates these predictions by providing a quantitative account of internal orderings of elements in some Arabic noun phrases in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Libyan Arabic (LA). The primary concern is with the relative ordering of adjectives, where both semantic adjective classes and functions (specifying~descriptive~classifying) are invoked. The study findings showed ordering preference in both MSA and LA, at both the global and refined functional levels, in line with the suggested hierarchies. Deviation from the preferred order also appeared possible but under certain circumstances which appear at a greater level in LA than MSA. These instances were, however, accounted for through factors such as contrastive environments.

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