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Minimalism and Question Affix Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Jun 26th, 2020


Minimalism and question affix refers to the grammatical structure in English speaking and it involves several word formations. The English grammar changes with different structural pronunciations depending on the native language of the speaker. For instance, the Arabic language influence on the English language is quite outstanding, and this aspect mainly initiates the study of the Standard Arabic structure and formations in the English grammar approach. This paper will highlight the different assumptions by Chomsky’s analysis in the grammatical structure with respect to the yes-no questions by the Standard Arabic structure. Moreover, the paper will discuss the use of the syntax of negotiation in interrogative formats and show how verbal and nominal questions are derived. In conclusion, the paper will give the proposed minimalist, which gives the structural order in the Standard Arabic versions.

Minimalism and Question Affix

The levels of the Minimalist Program (MP) fall into two main categories, viz. Logical Form (LF) and Phonological Form (PF). The LF merges with semantic concepts of the cognition interface systems therein. Similarly, the PF is articulator-perceptually associated with the language modules. Conventionally, language is viewed as a composition of lexicon and computation systems, which are constructed uniquely to meet at either PF or LF. Furthermore, the structural deviation of any language takes the LF or the PF formats that interface freely for grammatical composition. Ultimately, a free deviation from the lexicon that makes new formations creates the PF. However, the LF does not have any lexicon to interface.

Ultimately, the constituent must operate around the first position above its original position. The Shortest Move discourages any skipping above the head position in any occasion. Moreover, the Procrastinate Move only allows deviation movements after the spell-out to prevent affecting the PF interface. For instance, the Greed Move only allows movements that favour its language developments. Ultimately, the MP relies on the economy principle to allow deviations that are grammatical in structure, with considerations of allowing grammar deviations over different language structures. The MP structure relies on “feature checking” as termed by Chomsky. The feature checking strategy by Chomsky leads to the development of the Abstract Question Affix Q present in the D-structure.

Chomsky’s Approach on the Minimalist Analysis Abstract Affix Q

According to Chomsky, the Affix Q solely relies on the economic principles assumptions, which categorically are meant to limit language deviations. The feature checking is on the economic principles and it relieves the grammatical constraints of different individuals learning the English language. Furthermore, Chomsky proposes the interrogative C, which serves as the head to CP with the affix Q in the LF.

Generally, the affix Q differentiates the interrogative clause from the declarative clause, which acts as a very strong feature in English. According to Chomsky, the Affix Q is easy to interpret and all languages vary in accordance with the Affix Q deviations. In addition, Chomsky argues that when the Affix Q is replaced or merged with the checking domain FQ, it portrays its strong influence on the language, which he illustrates with sentence examples. However, the replacement of the Q feature with the adjunction FQ eliminates the strong feature in the Affix Q. Ultimately, the Q feature brings out the yes-no question, thus requiring interpretation.

Radford’s Reaction to Chomsky’s Treatment to the Abstract Affix Q

The development of the Syntax head movement has undergone several language developments in the Minimalism era. On the contrary, Radford’s English context involves the I-movement. Radford slightly differs with Chomsky by arguing that the Q Affix was formed from the Latin language background. Furthermore, Radford claims that the Q Affix gained its language deviation from the INFL to COMP versions. Ultimately, Radford does not agree with Chomsky’s version of the Q affix presence in the interrogative language deviation. He disagrees with Chomsky’s assumptions on the economy principles. Instead, Radford brings a different version of language structure by arguing that a question may not contain an auxiliary. In addition, Radford argues that the use of the dummy auxiliary should be used in place of the particle Q. Generally, Radford relies on his own assumptions that the interrogative COMP has a strong English influence in today’s English.

The Formal Treatment of Question Particles in the Modern Standard Arabic

According to Chomsky’s version of the Q affix treatment, the Arabic interaction with Minimalism can be established. The Minimalism assumptions can be applied to the Arabic language to test if the Affix Q particle in English language structure applies to the Standard Arabic. The main difference between English and the Standard Arabic is that the English interrogative structure of yes-no involves auxiliary inversions, while the Standard Arabic lacks those movements. In standard Arabic, the syntactic movements, which are present in English, are not portrayed in any way.

Assuming the D- structure in the complementizer C in English by Chomsky, the Standard Arabic satisfies the strong feature of the Q particle. In the Standard Arabic, the Q particle may be replaced by the FQ checking domain to from the yes-no questions. However, the I-raising to the Q version in the syntactical analysis does not comply with the Standard Arabic language structure. Generally, the Standard Arabic shows two interrogative particles of “a” and “hal” replaced in the first word of sentence beginning.

Ultimately, the Standard Arabic involves two interrogative forms of sentences, viz. the verbal and nominal sentences. The nominal sentences usually use either a pronoun and pronominal in that the negation or affirmative response is required. According to Chomsky, the verbal yes-no question particles are treated as bound and free interrogative morpheme. These elements must appear in the first position of a sentence and they do not show any grammatical agreements to the terms portrayed in the three phi-features like gender or number, and thus the Standard Arabic uses “a” and “hal” in its interrogative Q particles. Generally, the Standard Arabic tends to merge the Q particle in order to satisfy the conditions of the ‘economy principle’.

Proposed Minimalist Postulating in “a” and “hal” of the Head C and CP

Ultimately, languages differ with respect to the strength the Q-feature. Therefore, assuming that the Standard Arabic feature is strong, the DP does not seem to move over the verbal sentences. Nevertheless, following a critical analysis of the minimalist assumptions and behaviour, stressing the question particles can be used to establish strong proposal. Generally, the main difference between “a” and “hal” Q particles in the Standard Arabic is that “hal” does not allow any negative element in its structure.

However, “a” allows the presence of negativity and it coincides perfectly with its structure. Moreover, another major syntactic difference between “a” and “hal” is that “hal” is never preceded by any negative element. Through illustrations, Chomsky shows how the “hal” and “a” vary in their use and structural developments. However, the two have some similarities, as both can be used in affirmative questions and they can occur with an apodosis. Nevertheless, a is widely used in yes-no questions more than hal even though both occur in the first position of a sentence

However, Ouhalla argues with different language elements of TNS, AGRS, and NEG. He argues that the NEG represents the “ur” elements, which have a Head NegP. He further agrees that the Verbal Sentence order differs with the AGRS, as it is rated structurally higher than the TNS. According to Ouhalla, the NEG assumes the first position in a sentence structure. Moreover, the French and English vary as the former uses the “n” and not elements, which are structurally different.

According to Haegeman and Guéron, the French negation uses different elements of ne and pas. Ultimately, the general conclusion in language structure lies in the use of different language structures as determined by the Q particle. The structure of a language will differ from any other language in terms of negation, verbal sentences, nominal sentences, and the Q- particle.

In conclusion, languages differ according to the structural composition and the position of the negation elements accompanied by Q particle brings the language variance. Evidently, the English language has the common base to trace other language structures with respect to negation and affirmation. However, due to the presence and lack of the use of the Q element in different language structures, different approaches of language compositions exist.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Minimalism and Question Affix." June 26, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/minimalism-and-question-affix/.


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