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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter Mouton April 26, 2014

Geminate timing in Lebanese Arabic: the relationship between phonetic timing and phonological structure

Ghada Khattab EMAIL logo and Jalal Al-Tamimi
From the journal Laboratory Phonology


This study investigates medial gemination patterns in Lebanese Arabic (LA). It offers an account of the duration patterns of quantity distinction for vowels and consonants in LA by using the most comprehensive dataset for this variety, and for Arabic in general, so far in terms of the number of speakers (20), the consonant types examined (24), the inspection of vowels preceding and following the consonant in durational analyses, and the inclusion of male and female speakers. The main aim is to show correspondence between phonetic timing in LA and phonological accounts of syllabic structure that are based on moraic weight (Hayes 1989; Broselow 1995; McCarthy and Prince 1995). The study extends predictions of mora-sharing in disyllables with medial clusters that are preceded by a long vowel (e.g., /ˈmaal.ħa/ ‘salty-FEM-SG’) to comparable syllables with a medial geminate (e.g., /ˈ ‘bored-FEM-SG’), which have not been investigated in Arabic before. It shows that vowel shortening preceding medial geminates affects phonologically long but not short vowels, downplaying the commonly referred to closed-syllable shortening effect as the main reason for this phenomenon (Maddieson 1997). Instead, an account based on the interface between phonetic and phonological effects on compensatory vowel shortening offers better predictions.

Published Online: 2014-4-26
Published in Print: 2014-5-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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