Die Interaktion der Aspektsemantik mit dem Lexikon im Marokkanisch-Arabischen

Die Interaktion der Aspektsemantik mit dem Lexikon im Marokkanisch-Arabischen. By Fadoua Chaara. (LINCOM studies in Afroasiatic linguistics 11.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2003. Pp. 211. ISBN 3895868701. $107.80.

Reviewed by Andrzej Zaborski, Jagiellonian University of Krakow

This book, based on Chaara’s doctoral dissertation, deals with the interaction of aspect semantics and lexicon in Moroccan Arabic. It is not clear which varieties of Moroccan Arabic can be considered as the database of this work. Contemporary Spoken Moroccan Arabic koine, which has not been codified and is still more or less fluctuating, is mentioned, but some examples are taken from William Marcais’s Textes arabes de Tanger (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1911). The sources of the many examples are systematically quoted, which means a happy return to the old, good practice.

The basic ‘modern’ assumption that grammatical aspect and ‘the character’ (Aktionsart in German terminology) of particular verbs must be analyzed together is reminiscent of the prestructuralist approach to syntactic analysis, in which grammatical aspect, tense, and mood are not only connected with particular lexical and contextual peculiarities but are also frequently overshadowed by them (well exemplified, in the case of Arabic linguistics, by the syntactic studies on Classical Arabic by H. Reckendorf).

C discusses theoretical studies by Carlota Smith, David R. Dowty, R. Bauerle, and Hans-Jürgen Sasse, and then presents the TAM system of Moroccan Arabic following the traditional Arabist division into perfective and imperfective. C then examines participles, which, in Moroccan Arabic as well as in many other Arabic dialects, can have both perfective/resultative and imperfective/processive/approximative and stative meanings; periphrastic constructions; and a semantic classification of verbs of Moroccan Arabic. The author offers a separate detailed analysis of four basic polysemic, auxiliary verbs. According to C, the main aspect difference in Moroccan Arabic exists not between telic and atelic verbs but (allegedly there is a strong tendency in this direction) between telic verbs that lexicalize the beginning and those that lexicalize the end of a situation (204). Moreover, a lexical form with different ‘senses’ cannot be simply grouped within a single well-defined aspect class—the particular ‘senses’ of the same verb can belong to different, even incompatible and opposite, aspect classes (205).

The book is a useful contribution to the study of Moroccan Arabic and is an important methodological novelty in the field of Arabic linguistics.