Agreement with conjoined subjects
Agreement is complicated with subjects consisting of conjoined NPs. In VSO
word order, the verb agrees only with the first conjunct. Which means that, the NP in
VSO is given a check feature of the first conjunct. Then the coordination template
checks for this feature. If it is found the whole conjunction is given the same features
as the first conjunct (Attia.2010).
كتبت البنت والولد الرسالة
Katabat albintu w-alwaladu al-risalta
Wrote.fem.sg.3 the-girl.fem.sg and-the-boy.masc.sg the –letter
On the other hand in sentences with SVO word order, the verb agrees with the
whole conjoined set rather than just one of its conjunct. The whole set agreement
follows some rules. First, gender; the whole NP is masculine unless all conjuncts are
feminine nouns, in which case it is feminine.
• 1st if any NP is in the 1st person
• 2nd if any NP is in the 2nd person
• Otherwise the person is 3rd
Finally, number: The whole NP is plural unless there are only two
conjuncts and both are singular, in which case the whole NP is
البنت وامها كتبتا الرساله
Al-bintu w-ummu-ha katabta al-risalta
The-girl.fem.sg and-mother.fem.sg 3.fem.pl the-letter
Differences&similarties between subject verb agreement in English and Arabic:
1- In English SV orders show full agreement between subject and verb , while Arabic's VS orders show only partial agreement.
2- According to Aleya (1992. p.61) ''The doubled subject pronouns are a reflex of Arabic subject-verb agreement system. Which requires the verb to reflect the gender, number and person of its subject .English verbs don't agree with their subjects in the same way that Arabic verbs do .They do not mark gender at all and mark –number only in the third-person singular. Compared to Arabic verb inflection".
3- In Arabic in all tenses ,there are agreement markers on the verb for the singular male, singular female, dual male, dual female, plural male and plural female subject. In English , it has the agreement markers just in the present tense with the use of the third person singular -s.
4- The use of the verb' be' is different in English but Arabic do not have the verb ' be' and do not use it to be between the noun or pronoun subject . So some Arabic learners leave out the verb 'be' in the progressive tense because it does not exist in Arabic.
5- In Arabic, there is a repetition of the object, that occurs when the object of the verb is moved to the initial part of the sentence. Its original position after the verb gets occupied by an object pronoun otherwise, the sentence will be inconvenient . In English , this doesn’t occur so, the object is not stated twice in the sentence, its original place is always after the verb but if it is moved to the...