Deconstructing the Construct

  • Hagit Borer
Part of the Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory book series (SNLT, volume 45)


In the recent decade, Construct State nominals (henceforth CSN) in Hebrew and Arabic have been the focus of much discussion and research, resulting in many important insights. Originating with a proposal of Ritter (1987, 1988) many analyses of that construction seek to tie (at least some of) its properties to raising of N to D (cf. Ritter, (1987, 1988, 1991); Fassi Fehri (1988, 1989, 1994); Ouhalla (1990, 1991); Hazout (1990); Muhammad (1988); Duffield (1992); Siloni (in press, 1994); among others). The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, I will review and evaluate the major insights behind the N-to-D hypothesis, showing that while some of them have led to an increased understanding of CSN, the N-to-D hypothesis does not, in fact, achieve the major tasks which its proponents claim it to achieve. I will conclude that while the operation of N-to-D cannot be directly excluded, based on word order, there is no direct evidence for its existence and the word order phenomena which such an account seeks to explain must be accounted for in some other way.


Noun Phrase Word Order Definiteness Criterion Definite Article Functional Head 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hagit Borer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaUSA

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