The Theory of Government in Arabic Grammatical Traditions: Chomskyan Generative Grammar Perspective


  • Muhammed Salim
  • Bedoor Sharaf Al Deen
  • Mohammed Masoud



Early Arab grammarians used scientific tools to analyze the sentence structure. Their scholarship is best manifested in the establishment of the Governor theory. It assumed that governors change the parsing signs of the word. Two major types of governors were identified:  the expressed and the abstract governors. Governor theory dominated the linguistic thinking not only at that time but it is still at the core of Arabic linguistic discussions nowadays. The purpose of this study is twofold: (a) to give a brief introduction about the theory of governor in Arabic, and (b) to compare the governor theory in Arabic with the theory of government presented in Chomsky’s (1988) Government and Binding theory. The study revealed that Sibawayh (793) laid the foundations of the Governor theory and it matured in the works of the Basrans and the Kufans. The study also showed some agreement between Chomsky’s theory of government and Arabic Governor Theory. Nevertheless, there is a difference in the nature and the types of governors between the two theories.


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Author Biographies

Muhammed Salim

Ph. D Research Scholar, Department of Linguistics

Aligarh Muslim University

Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India       

Bedoor Sharaf Al Deen

Ph. D Research Scholar

Department of Linguistics

Aligarh Muslim University

Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India

Mohammed Masoud

Ph.D. Research Scholar

Department of English

Aligarh Muslim University

Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India


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How to Cite

Salim, M. ., Al Deen, B. S., & Masoud, M. . (2022). The Theory of Government in Arabic Grammatical Traditions: Chomskyan Generative Grammar Perspective. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 10(5), 17–40.