This monograph is an attempt to capture the pragmatic functions and the syntactic behavior of the discourse marker maʕleš in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. It also aims to highlight any potential correlations between the syntactic behavior of maʕleš and its pragmatic functions. Additionally, the collocational behavior of maʕleš within its different pragmatic functions is investigated. The data of this study is a purposeful sample drawn from a corpus of an Egyptian series. Utilizing a corpus-based, qualitative method, the data is analyzed by using WordSmith Tools, a functional corpus software that has the capacity for the search for a word or a set of words at the same time, in addition to the search for the collocations of a particular word. The results of the study are interpreted within the framework of Politeness Theory, as well as Speech Act Theory, based on the notion of the illocutionary force that utterances bring into conversation. The findings of the study show that maʕleš performs as a politeness marker, flagging and/or attenuating a variety of performative acts. Moreover, the findings demonstrate that there is a significant correlation between the illocutions marked by maʕleš and both its syntactic and collocational behaviors.


Applied Linguistics Department

Degree Name

MA in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language

Graduation Date


Submission Date

September 2018

First Advisor

Taha, Zeinab

Committee Member 1

El Essawi, Raghda

Committee Member 2

Kamel, Mona


117 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


I would love to express my deep gratitude to Professor Zeinab Taha, my thesis supervisor, and Professor Raghda El-Essawi, my thesis first reader, for their patient guidance, enthusiastic encouragement, and useful critiques of this research work. I would love to show my great appreciation to Dr. Mona Hassan, my thesis second reader, for her valuable and constructive comments and suggestions. Special thanks should be given to Professor Ashraf Abdou for his instruction and assistance in the corpus linguistics course from which I came up with some brilliant and innovative ideas, one of which is the topic of the present study. I would also like to thank Mr. Mohamed Ali for enabling me to visit the ALI lab to use the corpus-analysis software on which my research is based. I am particularly grateful for Inst. Mariam Salah El-Din, my English language instructor at ELI, who has taught me more than I could ever give her credit for here. She has shown me, by her example, what an outstanding teacher and person should be. I would also like to extend my thanks to Mr. Aly Omar, my director at work, for his support and encouragement throughout my study and for his enormous help as to the arrangement of my work schedule to be in harmony with my study schedule. My grateful thanks are also extended to very special companions during this journey: Noha Enab, Shereen Shendy, Mustafa Younes, Sara Tareq, and Hasnaa Essam. Finally, nobody has been more important to me in the pursuit of this master’s degree than the members of my family: my wife, my two sisters, my brother, my nieces, my nephews, and above all my beloved, kind-hearted parents who have made me the man who I am now. My family, I love you all.