Substrate Breaking Free: The Case of the Argument Flagging and Indexing Construction in the Jewish Dialect of Baghdad
The Argument Flagging and Indexing Construction (AFIC) is commonly used in the Jewish Arabic dialect of Baghdad (JB) to mark arguments of the clause. Traces of equivalent constructions can be found in older Semitic languages as well as Modern Arabic dialects, and it is widely accepted that the existence of the
AFIC in JB reflects Aramaic substrate. Nonetheless, neither Syriac nor any modern Aramaic or Arabic dialect present the diversity of syntactic functions and subconstructions that the AFIC in JB does. Moreover, despite the peculiar semantic or pragmatic nuance that accompanies its use in JB, the AFIC is much more common
in use in JB in comparison to other modern dialects. These differences motivated the current study, which aims at understanding the way the AFIC was absorbed into JB as well as the way it was further developed in the dialect.
Keywords argument marking, historical linguistics, the Jewish dialect of Baghdad, Semitic languages, Aramaic, Arabic dialectology