Licensing of the NPI ʔumr and its implications for sentential negation in Cairene Egyptian Arabic

Usama Soltan


Like other Arabic dialects, Cairene Egyptian Arabic (CEA) exhibits a two-pattern negation system: the circumfixal maa…š-pattern and the independent miš-pattern. However, when the negative polarity item (NPI) ʔumr (=ever) occurs in pre-Neg position in the sentence, only the maa…š-pattern may be used, though crucially without the -š suffix if negation is hosted by the predicate, or, alternatively, with the -š suffix if negation is hosted by the NPI itself. This paper provides an account for the morphosyntactic properties associated with ?umr, how it is licensed as an NPI, and its implications for the general analysis of sentential negation in CEA.

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