Arabic Word Formation: Theoretical and Psycholinguistic Approaches

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Linguistics Philology and Phonetics


Research into how words form and how they are processed in the brain can provide valuable insights into the nature of language and language processing. Given my fluency in Arabic alongside my strong
background in theoretical and experimental linguistics, I am well placed to explore Arabic word formation from morphological, phonological, psycholinguistic, and historical perspectives. This proposal will explore Arabic word formation from the smallest units of derivation, through prosodic word formation, stress assignment and related morpho-phonological rules, through to how the brain processes different types of words. Each of the following research questions covers understudied areas, or those that lack scholarly consensus.
1. How does the etymon work as a unit of derivation?
2. How do morphemes combine in Arabic?
3. How do phonological and morphological rules interact at the word level?
4. How does the brain process different levels of structure in Arabic?
The etymon has only been studied from a lexicographical perspective, rather than how it functions as a unit of derivation for Arabic. Morpheme combinations, interactions between phonological and morphological rules, and psycholinguistic processing are often researched without reference to other areas of Arabic linguistics. Thus, there is a clear need for a holistic study that encapsulates all these areas to produce a unified analysis of word formation in Arabic. For each area, I intend to include awareness of diachronic change, as well as variation between colloquial dialects where appropriate.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000649/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2095626 Studentship ES/P000649/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2020 Emily Lindsay