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Nonlinear phonology of a Moroccan Arabic dialect

Naceur Amakhmakh

Ph.D. Dissertation, 1997


This study is primarily concerned with the phonology of one Moroccan Arabic dialect, spoken in and around Sefrou in the centre of Morocco. The main goal of this dissertation is to describe several aspects of the phonology and morphology of Moroccan Arabic in terms of autosegmental phonology. The main body of the dissertation is divided into five chapters. Chapter one outlines the framework of nonlinear phonology with some of its subcomponents in which this study is undertaken, and gives a brief description of the dialect under investigation. Chapter two analyzes various assimilatory processes that target mainly coronal consonants (e.g. definite article assimilation, prefix /t-/ voicing assimilation, coronal sonorant assimilation, and long-distance assimilation of fricatives). It also examines the process of labialization. Chapter three gives an acoustic correlation of pharyngealization on vowels and examines the domain of pharyngealization spread within the word with the aim of establishing whether the domain of pharyngealization spread is morphologically determined or phonologically determined. In chapter four, two morphological operations are examined (the diminutive formation and one of the broken plural patterns), following McCarthy's insight (1979, 1981) and McCarthy and Prince (1990) among others. Both these morphological operations are based on the stem mapped onto an underlying template /C$/sb[/rm I]$ u C$/sb2$ i C$/sb3/ /partial$ C$/sb[/rm F]/$ (for the diminutive) and /C$/sb[/rm I]$ C$/sb2$ a C$/sb3/ /partial$ C$/sb[/rm F]/$ (for the broken plural). Chapter five summarizes the findings of the study.

Department of Linguistics University of Wisconsin-Madison

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