Chapter published in:Advances in Iranian Linguistics
Edited by Richard K. Larson, Sedigheh Moradi and Vida Samiian
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 351] 2020
► pp. 173–236
The Ezafe construction revisited
This chapter addresses the nature, distribution and function of the Ezafe morpheme, a distinguishing grammatical feature of many of the Iranian languages. We review three main analyses advanced in the wide literature on the subject: semantic, morphological, and syntactic. We argue that the syntactic account of Ezafe is the most promising, both in its empirical reach, and explanatory power. Looking at an exhaustive range of data from Iranian Persian (iPersian) and other Iranian languages, we note that Ezafe occurs between nominal elements in the NP, PP, AP, and QPs. Following case theory (Chomsky 1981), we propose that Ezafe satisfies a licensing requirement in the following phrase, similar to ‘of’ in English. We then consider in detail the implications of this theory for the occurrence of Ezafe before PPs in iPersian and before finite and nonfinite complement clauses in iPerisan and Kurdish. Finally, we examine the occurrence of Ezafe in Zazaki ‘double Ezafe constructions’ and in Caspian languages showing the so-called ‘Reverse Ezafe construction’ in light of the case-based analysis.
Keywords: Iranian languages, Ezafe , semantic approach, morphological approach, case-based analysis, licensing requirement, NP modifiers and complements, adjective phrases, Partitives, post-nominal PP modifiers, complement clauses, double Ezafe construction, Reverse Ezafe
Published online: 22 July 2020
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