The existential sentence is a noncanonical sentence type that is used crosslinguistically to assert the (non
)existence of one or more entities. It consists of a set of syntactic items that includes an expletive, pivot, and coda. Two different syntactic analyses have been identified in the literature for the existential construction. The first type of analysis, the standard analysis, treats the existential sentence as a nonraising counterpart of copular sentences. In this analysis, both existential and copular sentences are derived from a single underlying structure, which takes the pivot as a subject and the coda as a predicate. The other type of analysis, the nonstandard analysis, treats the existential sentence differently from the copular sentence. In this analysis, the copular verb takes the pivot NP as its complement, and the coda is treated as an adjunct. The purpose of this paper is to examine the syntactic status of the three syntactic items, namely, the expletive fiih
, the pivot NP, and the coda XP, in the existential construction in the dialect of Najdi Arabic (NA). Using the nonstandard analysis, I propose that the existential pronoun fiih
is an NP merged in the Spec, vP, the pivot is an NP complement selected by a copular verb, and the coda is an adjunct that serves as either an internal or external modifier. This work about NA existentials may fruitfully contribute to the ongoing discussion on the syntax of existential constructions. Examining existential constructions in various unrelated languages may help obtain a better understanding of this interesting syntactic phenomenon, thereby enabling a more plausible analysis.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.