Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Fabiola Henri

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Stump


This study examines the distribution and the status of the izāfa particle in Sorani Kurdish (Central Kurdish). It uses a corpus-based analysis to investigate the forms and the pattern of distribution of the izāfa particle in Sorani, a dominant dialect of Kurdish among the Western Iranian languages. The study details an investigation of the appearance of izāfa in various NPs using a variety of data mostly from the corpus but supplemented by the grammaticality judgments of native speakers. I show that next to parallel properties seen in other Western Iranian languages, Sorani Kurdish izāfa shows a form alternation. I examine the morphological status of the izāfa and other nominal morphological features in Kurdish as well as the sensitivity of izāfa form variation to specificity in Kurdish NPs. I argue that the differences and distributional incoherence of the izāfa within Sorani and across Western Iranian languages calls for a morphomic approach, which can be formally described using a constructional approach to grammar. The study focuses on the following questions:

  1. What type of head does the izāfa mark?
  2. What is the function of this marker?
  3. What are the constraints on its distribution?
  4. What are the syntactic and morphological rules governing its distribution?

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)