From locative existential construction fi(ih) to a TMA/progressive marker
Grammaticalization of fi(ih) in Gulf Arabic Pidgin
The grammaticalization framework has been suggested as a predictive power for language change. This paper considers the grammatical functions of the locative construction fi(ih) in the Gulf Arabic Pidgin (a variety spoken by workers from the Indian subcontinent and south Asian countries working in the Arabian/Persian Gulf States). In Gulf Arabic, there are (1) the preposition fi ‘in; into; inside’ and (2) the locative construction fi(ih) ‘there is/are’, which only has an existential function. In Gulf Arabic Pidgin, the locative construction fi(ih), however, has several grammatical functions, including (1) a possessive marker (i.e., have-constructions), (2) an equative/predicative copula, and (3) a preverbal predicative marker. The aim in this paper is two-fold: first, to show how a grammaticalization framework can possibly account for the grammatical innovations of fi(ih) in the Gulf Arabic Pidgin; and second, to suggest that these grammatical innovations might be the results of an ongoing grammaticalization process of LOCATIVE>TMA/PROGRESSIVE. Earlier studies conducted on this pidgin serve as data sources for this project.
Keywords: grammaticalization, language change, innovation, Gulf Arabic Pidgin
Published online: 25 May 2020
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