The Structure of the Determiner Phrase in Moroccan Arabic: A Minimalist Approach

Determiner Phrase Moroccan Arabic Minimalist Program


  • Ayoub Zrari
    Doctoral student, Faculty of Languages, Letters and Arts, English Department, Ibn Tofail University, Kenitra, Morocco.
March 11, 2023


This study analyzes the structure of the determiner phrase (DP) in Moroccan Arabic (MA) within the framework of the Minimalist Program (MP). The study focuses on the determiners, adjectives, and possessives within the DP. The findings show that the determination of definiteness or indefiniteness of the noun is crucial and affects the structure of the DP. In this respect, the head of the DP possesses a definiteness feature; thus, noun movement to the determiner position is triggered by both the definiteness feature and the Minimal Link Condition (MLC). Adjective phrases in the DP are analyzed through the functional category AgrP to satisfy the features of the nouns and adjectives locally. Specifically, the uninterpreted features of case, gender, and number are carried in the head of AgrP, and movement is triggered by the need to satisfy the Extended Projection Principle (EPP) and to allow for feature checking while respecting the MLC principle. The paper argues that Carnie's (2013) arguments about the possessive DP are inadequate to account for MA and proposes the insertion of a functional projection "PossP" that dominates the whole DP, enabling the genitive case to be assigned to the possessor DP. The study shows that the MP approach is adequate in analyzing the DP structure in MA, the operations MOVE and MERGE, and the EPP and MLC principles play essential roles in forming DP structures. The paper also notes that when elements move, they leave behind a copy of the model element to preserve the original semantic interpretation.