Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

English Language and Literature

Committee Member

T. Daniel Seely, Ph.D, Chair

Committee Member

Damir Cavar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Beverley Goodman, Ph.D.


The goal of this thesis is to analyze pro-drop in Arabic in terms of its syntactic properties and the nature of its optionality in discourse. The paper begins with a comprehensive review of five syntactic properties assumed to be universal to pro-drop languages, and discusses the status of each in both Standard Arabic and the Saudi Najdi dialect--the latter having seen little previous research in this area. The conclusion is that Najdi is very nearly syntactically identical to Standard Arabic with regard to the null subject parameter. The topic then shifts to discourse, and what factors may trigger pro-drop usage. This topic is investigated by utilizing the Python programming language to analyze a corpus. New data suggest that there is little variation in pro-drop with regard to the type of nearby verb, when classifying verbs as psych or action. Other data suggest that wh-phrases have a significant impact on the occurrence of pro-drop.

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Linguistics Commons