Functional or Lexical: A Load-Continuum Analysis of Prepositions in Persian

Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant Professor of Research Center, SAMT


With the emphasis of Minimalist program on functional categories as having an equal  or more prominent status than  lexical ones, decision on the nature of the categories has attracted more investigations in recent studies. One of the basic categories the presence of which beside other lexical categories of verb, noun and adjective has been in question, is Preposition. It seems that the functional behavior of this category has cast doubt on its lexical nature. In this paper, using some criteria to diagnose the type of the category, it was found that, while prepositions in Persian are rich in both areas, their lexical nature cannot be ignored and they are correctly placed beside lexical categories. However, it is claimed, not all the items in this category behave in the same way: some have more functional and some more lexical load. In this regard, a continuumis proposed in which the short, old prepositions are placed at one end, and locative prepositions at the other end, still other prepositions in between. It is concluded that taking a fuzzy approach and leaving clear cut borders of functional or lexical categories, leads to the settlement of the debate.


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  • Receive Date: 26 October 2014
  • Revise Date: 05 February 2015
  • Accept Date: 03 December 2014
  • First Publish Date: 20 February 2015