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J. Linguistics 52 (2016), 1–36. c
Cambridge University Press 2015
doi:10.1017/S0022226715000043 First published online 10 April 2015
The ‘believe’-construction in Standard Arabic1
RASHID AL-BA L U S H I
Sultan Qaboos University
(Received 5 November 2013; revised 17 August 2014)
This paper presents an analysis for the ‘believe’-construction in Standard Arabic (SA). The
analysis proposed here assumes the VI SI BIL IT Y CONDIT ION, whereby structural Case is
necessary to render arguments visible at LF for T-role assignment (Aoun 1979, Chomsky
1981). The earlier approaches are untenable because they do not make proper provision
for the Case-visibility requirements of the complement clause of ‘believe’. Thus, they
are not extendable to SA since they ignore the Case-visibility requirements of the CP
complement of D
.anna ‘believe’, assuming that CPs require Case for visibility (Uriagereka
2006,2008). These requirements can be satisﬁed if we assume the distinction between
structural Case and lexical case established in Al-Balushi (2011: 126–157) based on SA
data, where structural Case is licensed on arguments and lexical case is assigned to non-
arguments, nominals merged in A-bar positions. I thus propose that the Acc-marked DP
(embedded subject/matrix object) does not receive structural Acc Case from the matrix
v*0, but rather lexical Acc case from the matrix predicate D
.anna, as a lexical element,
reserving the structural Acc Case for the CP argument. I also argue that this DP is an A-bar
element, co-indexed with an empty category argument pro in the embedded clause.
1. INTROD UCTIO N
The relevant literature has two main approaches to accounting for the morphosyn-
tax of the English construction in (1).
(1) John believes Mary/her to be smart.
These approaches are based on one of two main ideas, either Case assignment
across the boundary of the complement clause, termed EXCE PT IO NAL CA SE
MAR KING (ECM), or movement to the matrix clause for Case assignment, termed
RAI SING-TO-OB JECT (R-to-O). A standard assumption for both approaches is
that the Acc-marked DP in (1) is an argument of the embedded predicate and
bears no thematic relationship with the matrix predicate.
For my mother (1954–2015).
I would like to thank the editor as well as the three anonymous Journal of Linguistics
reviewers for suggesting important revisions that improved this paper.
I use the following abbreviations: 1, 2, 3 = ﬁrst, second, third person; ACC = accusative;
AUX = auxiliary; C L = object pronominal clitic; CO MP = complementizer; D= dual; DOM
= differential object marker; ec = empty category; ENE R = energetic; F= feminine; FU T =
future; GE N = genitive; IMP F = imperfective; IMPR = imperative; I ND = indicative; IN TER RO =
interrogative; JUS S = jussive; M= masculine; NEG = negative; NO M = nominative; P= plural;
PASS = passive; P RS = present; P ST = past; S= singular; S UB = subjunctive.