Some Aspects of Ergativity in English and Arabic

Abdul Majeed Hameed Joodi


The present study is a contrastive analysis of the notion of Ergativity in English1 and Arabic2. It attempts to discuss this phenomenon to find out the points of similarity and difference between the two languages in this particular linguistic area. It offers an explanation and a detailed description of the term and illustrates the various types and forms of verbs that can be handled under the headings ergative verbs and non-ergative verbs showing how the former differ from the latter. Additionally, it investigates the verbs which are used both transitively and intransitively in the two languages. All these types of verbs will be  identified, classified, and analyzed  according to the Quirk grammar - the approach to grammatical description pioneered by Randolph Quirk and his associates, and published in a series of reference grammars during the 1970s and 1980s, notably A Grammar of Contemporary English (1972) and its successor  A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language in1985. Reference, will, however, be made, wherever necessary, to the principles, techniques and terminology of other models of grammar. The method is, thus, more or less, eclectic. As far as ergativity in Arabic is concerned, the study adopts the model of grammatical description and classification pioneered by traditional Arab grammarians such as Siibawayhi, Ibn ‘Aqiil, and Mubarrid, and by modern Arab grammarians like Ghalaayiinii, ‘Udhaymah, and ‘Abbaas Hasan, among others. The conclusion part offers the main findings of the study.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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