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The Syntax of Genitive Constructions in Syriac
This study presents a synchronic description of genitive constructions in a dialect of the Aramaic language, known as Syriac. It is a multi-faceted study which considers different aspects of genitive constructions from traditional and contemporary perspectives, before culminating into a reinterpretation under contemporary frameworks. Specifically, the first component relates to Syriac’s nominal inflection paradigm, which reveals interesting processes of syntactic change that helps to explain how definiteness and genitive case is expressed in genitive constructions. This is consolidated by empirical evidence from an ancient manuscript titled, The Chronicles of Joshua the Stylite (Wright, 1882), which forms the basis for a distributional analysis of definiteness and genitive case features. The final component is an account of Syriac’s three basic genitive constructions within a generative framework, and specifically, under Abney’s (1984) DP and Ritter’s (1991) N-to-D movement hypotheses.