David Henen


This study investigates the functional and formal features of constructions built with the particle ya in the Egyptian Arabic film language of the film eš-šabaḥ (The Ghost) (2007). Studying ya is of interest as it is the most frequent lexical item after the conjunction we (and) in the data. By means of using WordSmith Tools Lexical Analysis Software, a concordance of instances of ya in the data was built. In line with the Speech Act theory by Austin (1975), a quantitative design was employed which enabled the findings to be classified according to their functional and formal properties. Regarding formal features, the results show specific patterns and collocates within each functional category of ya. As regards functional features, 88% of the ya phrases in the data convey vocative use while 12 % indicate non-vocative use. Within the vocative use, ya phrases are found to be mainly identificational, activational, predicational, or unreal. There is a category for contractures with an omitted vocative head. In non-vocative use, ya is found as an exclamation particle. This study has implications for teaching EA, formulating the grammar rules of EA, and translating dialogs from and into EA.


Applied Linguistics Department

Degree Name

MA in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language

Graduation Date


Submission Date

December 2018

First Advisor

Taha, Zeinab

Committee Member 1

Abdou, Ashraf

Committee Member 2

Abu El-Soud, Dala


127 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


My sincere gratitude and appreciation go to my family for teaching me important life skills and providing me with a strong education that empowered me to qualify for a Master’s degree. I would like to express my gratitude to the Department of Applied Linguistics at the American University in Cairo for giving me the opportunity to pursue my studies at the program of Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language. In addition to her dedicated support, I am deeply thankful to Prof. Dr. Zeinab Taha, my supervisor, for her endless patience, and timely communication with me while conducting this research. In particular, I am an indebted to Prof. Dr. Ashraf Abdou, my first reader, who has inspired me with the idea of this thesis and has been a role model of academic accuracy for me. My deep thanks and appreciation are due to Prof. Dr. Dalal Abu El-Soud, my second reader, for showing me constant encouragement and unlimited patience. I am eternally grateful to Prof. Dr. Raghda El-Essewi who went the extra mile to provide me with creative guidance as I labored over my Master’s educational program. For all those who assisted me in any way throughout all stages of this work, I genuinely appreciate your help.