• The Position of the Subject in Spoken Saudi Arabic: A Processing Perspective

      Thompson, Ellen; Werfelli, Sawsan; Florida International University (University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 2012)
      One of the most widely-discussed issues in Arabic syntax concerns the position of the subject. In this work, we investigate the processing of verb-initial and subject-initial structures in spoken Saudi Arabic in order to shed light on this debate. We examine the processing times associated with these constructions and argue that processing considerations provide evidence for a particular conception of Arabic syntax according to which VSO order is derived with the subject remaining in VP and verb raising over the subject, while SVO order is derived with the subject raising out of VP to Spec, TP, or to a higher Inflectional Phrase, and the verb raising to a position lower than the subject.