Verbal patterns in Palestinian Arabic

Lior Laks, Ibrahim Hamad, Elinor Saiegh-Haddad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The study examines the distribution of verbal patterns and their semantic-syntactic functions as they are used in spoken narrative text production by adult native speakers of Palestinian Arabic. 30 native Palestinian Arabic adult speakers from Kufur Qare, a village in Central Israel, were shown a clip demonstrating conflicts and were asked to produce an oral narrative text based on it. The verbs used in these narratives were examined according to root, pattern, transitivity and semantic class. The results revealed strong tendencies with regard to the distribution of the patterns that were used. CaCaC was the most productive pattern by type and token counts. This stands in contradiction to the results for verb innovation, where the CaCCaC and tCaCCaC patterns are selected almost exclusively, and it highlights the gap between productivity based on new formations and productivty based on basic forms in use. In addition, some verbal patterns were extermely rarely used. The results also show that there was no transparent form-function relation with respect to the semantic functions of verbal patterns. Most semantic functions were delivered in a small number of patterns (between 1-3) and the majority of them were in were found in one pattern, CaCaC. The results shed light on the actual usage of Arabic verbal patterns in text production and their semantic and syntactic features.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-236
Number of pages28
JournalMental Lexicon
Issue number2
StatePublished - 31 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the ISRAEL SCIENCE FOUNDATION (grant No. 842/13) to Elinor Saiegh-Haddad and Lior Laks.

Publisher Copyright:
© John Benjamins Publishing Company.


  • Arabic
  • Form-function relations
  • Narrative texts
  • Verb
  • Verbal pattern


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