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Title:Constraint Interactions in Jordanian Arabic Phonotactics: An Optimality-Theoretic Approach
Authors: Mousa A. Btoosh
Abstract:This study presents a constraint-based analysis of Jordanian Arabic phonotactics within the Optimality Theory framework. The corpus providing the database for the study is restricted to Karak Arabic, a variety spoken in the Karak Governorate in the middle part of Jordan. Historically and geographically, Karak Arabic belongs to Levantine Arabic varieties spoken in what was known as Greater Syria. The variety under analysis distinguishes itself from most other Arabic or even Jordanian varieties in several features. Chief among them are the opacity in word final non-geminate complex codas, the adherence of complex codas to the Sonority Sequencing Principle, and the presence of a rarely found ultra-heavy syllable. In spite of the shared approach, this paper, to a great extent, deviates from other studies conducted on some Levantine dialects (Adra, 1999; Abuabbas, 2003, to name but two) in some core arguments and analytical procedures, which are, consequently, reflected in the type and ranking of the universal constraints even when handling similar data. The paper presents a thorough analysis of and answers to three major debatable issues: (i) assignment of unlicensed segments to semisyllables, (ii) representation of geminates, and (iii) reduction of unlicensed segments in ultra-heavy syllables by morphology.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:Phonotactics, Standard Arabic, Constraints, Onset, Coda, Semisyllables, Geminates
Article:Version 1