Arabic copula

Stassen l.stassen at LET.KUN.NL
Tue Feb 5 02:01:34 UTC 2002


I feel a bit reluctant about promoting myself in this way, but I hope I'm
allowed to point out that in my 1997 book ( "Intransitive Predication",
OUP)  there is a section (section 3.4., to be exact, pp. 76-91) about
copular items that do not have a verbal origin. These "non-verbal copulas"
can be "pro-copulas", (that is, they have a pronoun as their origin), but
also focus-markers and other stuff may eventually come to function as
copular items. Anyway, to get back to the question that started all this: I
think it is extremely unlikely that Cypriot Arabic borrowed its pronominal
copula from Greek. As others have pointed out, having a procopula is a
general Semitic, and maybe to some extent even Afro-Asiatic trait (in fact,
Ancient Egyptian and Coptic have it, too, and there is a nonverbal copula
in Berber).

All the best,

Leon Stassen.

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