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Phonological aspects of 9abady Arabic: A Bedouin Jordanian dialect

Ahmad Sakarna

Ph.D. Dissertation, 1999


The main objective of this study is to describe the phonology of 9abady Arabic (9A), a Bedouin Jordanian dialect that has not been investigated before, and to provide an analysis in light of recent phonological theories (autosegmental phonology and feature geometry). The study investigates the major phonological processes of 9A, focusing on the behavior of emphatics and gutturals, emphasis spread (ES), and emphatics and gutturals interaction. This dissertation contains six chapters. Chapter one introduces the objectives, the Jordanian dialects, the dialect of 9A, the relevant literature, and an overview. Chapter two investigates the phonological aspects of 9A and examines the behavior of gutturals and emphatics. Consonants, vowels, syllable types, stress assignment, and verb measures are presented. The major phonological processes discussed include epenthesis, syncope, trisyllabic elision, raising, umlaut, [ghawah] and [bs&dotbelow;alah] patterns, /l/ assimilation, prefix /t-/ and infix /-t-/ assimilation, and glides and glottal stop processes. Chapter three presents 9A emphatics, gutturals, ES, and emphatics and gutturals interaction. The correlates of emphatics and gutturals and the natural class status of gutturals are discussed. Structural aspects of ES are covered, including types, domain, emphasis blockers, and the effects of morpheme and word boundaries. Evidence for emphatics as a natural class is provided, and the status of /r/ is discussed. Chapter four provides an autosegmental analysis of ES which affects all segments of a root/complex word. Four possible approaches are examined where the source of emphasis might be a syllable, a vowel, a suprasegmental feature, or an emphatic consonant. Arguments are presented against the first three and in favor of the fourth analysis. Chapter five presents a feature geometric account of ES, discussing how the articulator-based model (e.g., McCarthy 1994, Halle 1995) and the constriction-based model (e.g., Herzallah 1990) would account for facts in 9A. Problematic for both models of McCarthy and Halle, the interaction of emphatics and gutturals results in major violations of the Obligatory Contour Principle and the No Crossing Constraint (NCC). A modification to both models is proposed and adopted. Herzallah's model encounters serious NCC violations and is evaluated as less highly valued. Finally, chapter six provides a summary.

Department of Linguistics University of Wisconsin-Madison

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