Volume 46, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Many studies on Moroccan Arabic presuppose the existence of a determination system organized along the lines of definiteness and indefiniteness. Hence, they postulate a ‘definite article’ with the form /l-/ and an ‘indefinite article’ as its counterpart in the form /waħd.l-/.

This study shows that the so-called ‘definite article’ /l-/ is actually a general referential marker that mainly marks a noun as [−]. The marker /l-/ and its augmented forms are specific and allow different readings ranging from anaphoric definiteness to specific indefiniteness. The marker /waħd.l-/ is less an ‘indefinite article’ but marks ‘mirativity’, i.e. pragmatic salience. Thus it often has a cataphoric function. Demonstratives are used in deictic function but also to evoke an already existing knowledge in the hearer. The system is extended by the referential marker /ʃi-/ restricted to mark non-specific items. The complexity of nominal determination is partly the result of the juxtaposition of typically Moroccan linguistic innovations and retentions of “common Arabic” structures.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): articles; Moroccan Arabic; nominal determination; referentiality; spoken Arabic
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