This is a comparative study of the verbal group in English and Arabic, with a particular focus on verbal elements like tense, aspect, finiteness and voice. The study analysed the data using the systemic functional framework complemented by some Arabic grammatical theories. The Systemic Functional theory (Halilday and Matthiessen, 2004) proved efficient in analysing the data due to its view of language as a mega-system of sub-systems, whereby items are selected and arranged by language users based on the functional suitability of the items. In English and Arabic grammars (Hudson, 2005; Baidhoon, 2005), verbal formations entail systematic selection and use of words and affixes. With the Systemic Functional theoretical tool, this study discovered that the two languages agree on salient functional dimensions (tense, aspect, etc) but differ on minute structural details (word order, word forms). English relies mainly on word order, using same forms for various functions; Arabic uses morphological processes, with minimal word order, for such functions. English uses word order especially in the perfect and progressive aspects, wherein tense is indicated by the operator, and lexical verbs are repetitive of form. Arabic uses word order in the past continuous tense only.
Ahmed Umar Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria. His areas of specialization are Comparative Bilingual / Multilingual Studies and Creative Writing. His linguistic researches cover English, Arabic, Hausa, Kanuri and Bura.
ISBN 9783862884186. Linguistics Edition 94. 120pp. EUR 56.80. 2013.