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Phrase Tags


Non-terminal nodes in dependency graphs are phrase nodes and are annotated with phrase tags. The following table lists the phrase tags used in the Quranic Arabic corpus:

Tag Arabic Name Description
S جملة Sentence
NS جملة اسمية Nominal sentence
VS جملة فعلية Verbal sentence
CS جملة شرطية Conditional sentence
PP جار ومجرور Preposition phrase
SC تأويل مصدر Subordinate clause

Fig 1. Phrase tags.

Nominal and Verbal Sentences

A commonly used definition in Arabic grammar teaching material is that nominal sentences (جملة اسمية) are those that begin with nominals (nouns, pronouns, etc.) and verbal sentences (جملة فعلية) begin with verbs. However, this definition fails to cover more complex sentences such as those with verbs following negative particles, or for sentences headed by kāna and her sisters (كان واخواتها) or inna and her sisters (ان واخواتها).

A more functional definition based on dependency grammar is that nominal sentences contain the roles of subject mubtada and predicate khabar (مبتدأ وخبر), while verbal sentences contain a verb fiʿil (فعل) and the role of subject fāʿil (فاعل). From this definition, it follows that a sentence headed by kāna or her sisters (كان واخواتها) is originally a nominal sentence, and remains a nominal sentence after the introduction of kāna, since the verb is considered to be incomplete (ناقص) in this usage.

See Also

Language Research Group
University of Leeds