Subject-verb Agreement in Arabic, Spanish, and English: Typological View

Marwan Jarrah, Mohammad Rayyan, Ekab Al-Shawashreh, Malek Zuraikat


This paper provides a typological comparison of subject-verb agreement in three languages (i.e. Arabic, Spanish and English) that belong to different language families. We essentially show that although these three languages share several important properties of subject-verb agreement (e.g., agreement is realized as suffixes), they diverge with respect to many other aspects. For instance, in Arabic, the word order and the type of the subject (i.e., a pronoun vs. a full DP) affect subject-verb agreement. On the other hand, subject-verb agreement in Spanish and English is insensitive to either condition. However, unlike the case in English, the verb in Spanish displays rich agreement with its subject. The paper concludes that although subject-verb agreement might be a universal phenomenon, the determinants of its morphosyntactic realization are definitely language-specific.


Subject-verb agreement, Arabic, Spanish, English, pro-drop

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