A Multiple Default Domain: A Semantics- Based Account


The objective of this study is to examine the use of the Masculine Sound Plural (MSP) as a default inflection in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). Twenty-six fourth-year university students in the department of Arabic language and literature participated in the experiment and they were required to provide the plural inflection for 30 derived noun forms in MSA. The data used in this study consists of agentive derived forms that indicate human action meaning. The descriptive statistics approach (mean and standard deviation) was used to investigate the data; the results of the current study showed that MSP inflection was produced in a higher rate of frequency than the other possible forms of the irregular plural inflectional forms-broken plural (BP)-- inflection that can also be actual part of the lexicon or schemata or background knowledge. The findings of this study support the accounts provided by the combinatorial processing mechanism with a suffixation formation that is more predictable than any other BP forms. The results of this study also provide more concrete evidence on the idea that there is initial mapping between the semantic features and the emergence of the default inflection which primarily motivates the emergence of the default form, and this semantic mapping is expected to add more to the properties that make the multidefault scenario more possible.


Sabri S.Y. Alshboul, Sahail M. Asassfeh and Clifton Pye


default, lexicon, masculine sound plural, modern standard Arabic (MSA), semantic features.