Mood feature as case licenser in Modern Standard Arabic
Starting from the Government and Binding Theory until the Minimalist Program, it is assumed that structural case (i.e. nominative and accusative case) is assigned to an NP argument through its structural relation with a case assigner. Nominative case is assigned by the finite inflection or is licensed by the phi-features of Tense, whereas accusative case is assigned by the selecting verb. This paper argues from the observation of complementizers in Modern Standard Arabic that structural case is licensed by the mood feature that originates in the complementizer, instead of by the tense feature. Evidence is collected from (i) the case of complementizer agreement, (ii) the study of ʔinna and her sisters’, (iii) the pronoun clitics, and (iv) the morphological correspondence between mood and case. The case-assigning capacity of the complementizer supports the recent analysis of Complementizer-Tense agreement relation, couched within the Probe-Goal theory of derivational syntax.