The Role of Construct State in Multi-Word Lexical Units Formation in Arabic
As times change and new concepts become part of our reality, Arabic, just like any other language, is facing the challenge of building new lexical units into its vocabulary. However, its word formation system, relying heavily on derivation based on root and pattern system, characteristic of Semitic languages, defies the use of affixation, conversion and compounding as major word formation methods in English and other Indo-European languages. Although there are some examples of affixation and compounding in Modern Standard Arabic, their use remains largely limited, with blurred boundaries in linguistic description between the two and the Arabic equivalent of blending, i.e. naḥt. Therefore concepts expressed by compounds in other languages are usually rendered by the construct state or annexation construction in Arabic. Still, such structures manifest a high degree of variation in terms of their lexicalization and semantic compositionality, thus ranging from free word combinations to multi-word lexical units. The paper focuses on description of lexicalized non-compositional instances of Arabic construct state, including examples from Modern Standard Arabic, as well as a phenomenon dating from Classical Arabic. In addition to analysis of syntactic and semantic structure of Arabic construct state multi-word lexical units, based on which they are divided into several classes, discussion centers on different stylistic mechanisms operative in formation of their meaning. Keywords: Arabic, lexical, units, formation, construct, state.
International Burch University