Session Arabic Phonetics:

Arabic Phonetics at the Beginning of the 2nd Millenium

Type: special
Chair: Judith Rosenhouse
Date: Tuesday - August 07, 2007
Time: 16:00
Room: 5 (Blue)


Arabic Phonetics-1 Arabic phonetics at the beginning of the third millenium
Judith Rosenhouse, Swantech Ltd. Haifa, Israel
Paper File
  Arabic phonetics has been part of the study of Arabic language at least since the 7th century CE. The great works by Al-Khali:l and Si:bawayh are the two cornerstones of this field. The early Arab grammarians knew phonetics and phonology quite well at that time, but interest in phonetics has remained relatively marginal until the middle of the 20th century. Modern Western phonetics, computerized innovations and other factors enhanced Arabic phonetics especially in the last two decades. This Introduction reviews five major schools which developed Arabic phonetics in the (Classical) past: dictionary, grammar, Koran reading, philosophy, and rhetoric. These are followed by modern trends in Arabic phonetic studies: dialect descriptions, sociolinguistic studies, pure phonetic features, language acquisition and teaching, and new phonetic areas: prosody and suprasegmentals. The basic differences between the two periods lie in research motivation and methodology.
Arabic Phonetics-2 Pre-Pausal Devoicing and Glottalisation in Varieties of the South Western Arabian Peninsula
Janet C.E. Watson, University of Salford
Yahya Asiri, University of Salford
Paper File
  This paper discusses and compares pre-pausal devoicing, glottalisation and aspiration in Arabic dialects in Yemen, Asir (south-west Saudi Arabia) and Mehri, also referring to the general background of this process. The findings reveal gradation in pre-pausal processes. For San’ani Arabic the findings include: (1) Pre-pausal glottal closure in environments –VV]/-VVC]/-VVS]. In final -VC] glottal closure follows/coincides with oral closure. In -VS], no glottal closure or devoicing is evident, the sonorant is audible. (2) Glottalic release of oral stops. /b/ pre-glottalised, but may be released with some aspiration. (3) Non-realisation of nasals in -VCS]. (4) Pre-glottalisation and devoicing or non-realisation of final sonorant consonants in -VVS], of which relative probability of non-realisation among sonorants is /n/ > /m/ > /l/ > /r/. (5) C. 200% longer pre-pausal vowels, fricatives and affricates. (6) Weakened intensity in lower frequencies of final fricatives.
Arabic Phonetics-3 An Acoustic Study of Coarticulation in Modern Standard Arabic and Dialectal Arabic: Pharyngealized vs. Non-Pharyngealized Articulation
Mohamed Embarki, Praxiling UMR 5267 CNRS-Montpellier III
Mohamed Yeou, Universite Chouaib Doukkali, El Jadida
Christian Guilleminot, Centre Tesniere, EA 2283 Universite Franche-Comte, Besancon
Sallal Al Maqtari, Universitee de Sanaa
Paper File
  The present study carries out an acoustic investigation of coarticulation in the context of pharyngaealized /t', d', s', d'/ vs non-pharyngealized cosnonants /t, d, s, d/ both in MSA and in four Arabic dialects (Yemeni, Kuwaiti, Jordanian and Moroccan). The speech material, produced by four males per country, consisted of 24 words in symmetrical VCV contexts [iCi, uCu, aCa] where C is either pharyngealized or non-pharyngealized in both MSA and Dialectal Arabic. The results from 4608 CV sequences showed a substantial regularity in coarticulation. Comparison of the two contexts - pharyngealized vs. non-pharyngealized - indicated quite different acoustic cues. Speakers presented comparabale cues, allowing an effective classification by geographical area. Intraspeaker variation showed that the trnasition from MSA to the native dialect was realized by different strategies of programming and production.
Arabic Phonetics-4 Variation in Phonetic Realisation or in Phonological Categories? Intonational pitch accents in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic and Egyptian Formal Arabic
Sam Hellmuth, Universität Potsdam
Dina El Zarka, Universität Graz
Paper File
  This paper uses qualitative and quantitative methods to compare the intonation of formal and colloquial varieties of Egyptian Arabic in a corpus of elicited read speech, to explore the widely held assumption that spoken formal Arabic will have the intonational characteristics of the speakers's colloquial variety. Speakers are found to use broadly parallel phonological systems in each register, reflected in parallel distribution and type of pitch accents. A quantitative analysis of the pitch target alignment to the segmental string reveals only minor differences in the phonetic realisations of pitch accents across registers.
Arabic Phonetics-5 A phonetic study of gemination in Lebanese Arabic
Ghada Khattab, University of newcastle, UK
Paper File
  This paper reports on phonological and phonetic patterns of gemination in Lebanese Arabic (LA) and temporal relations between geminate consonants and vowel length. The study investigates the effect of style on absolute and proportional durations by eliciting data from word lists and near-naturalistic conversations. Five Lebanese females were recorded reading target word lists containing medial long and short consonants preceded by long and short vowels and engaging in near-naturalistic conversations. Acoustic and auditory analyses of medial consonants and of preceding and following vowel durations were made. Results suggest that vowels and consonants show proportional rather than absolute temporal compensation in singleton and geminate targets. In spontaneous speech, target long vowels and consonants overlap in duration with singleton targets in word list style and the percept of phonological length is mainly achieved through the proportional durations for each of the short or long targets and their surrounding sounds.

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