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Vowel Reduction

(992 words)

Author(s): Thami Benkirane
Consider the following examples from Moroccan Arabic: (1) /## l + magana# djal# xa+ i ## / ## the + watch # of # brother + pronoun 1st person singular ## ‘my brother's watch’ (1a) [lmagæna djæl xɑj] (1b) [lmagæna di xɑj] (1c) [lmagæna dxɑj] (2) /## ras # mal+ u # kbir ## / ## head + money # pronoun, 3rd person singular # big ## ‘He is wealthy’ (2a) [rɑs mælu kbir] (2b) [rɑs mælu kbir] Although (1a), (1b), and (1c) exhibit remarkable formal differences, they are still semantically equivalent. In fact, the functional particle connecting the two substantives can be encoded e…

Prosody

(3,146 words)

Author(s): Thami Benkirane
The prosodic component of language plays a fundamental role in first language acquisition. Several experimental studies have established that newborn children are particularly sensitive to prosody and that they are able to identify the rhythm of their mother tongue among other languages (Nazzi a.o. 1998). In the domain of prosodic studies, there are two main tendencies. The first one gives priority to descriptive and theoretical investigations, while the second concentrates more on direct observation of speech signals, on measurement of th…

Vowel Elision

(1,146 words)

Author(s): Thami Benkirane
le + amil'ami [lami] ‘friend’ si + ils'il [sil] ‘if he’ Such a situation is impossible in Standard Arabic, where words always start with a consonant. If, nonetheless, two vowels do come into contact, less drastic solutions than vowel deletion are available, as illustrated in the following examples from Moroccan Arabic: 1(a) /bali + a/ → [bæljɑ] ‘old’ ‘old + feminine singular morpheme’ 1(b) /bldi + a/ → [bǝldijɑ] ‘traditional’ ‘traditional + feminine singular morpheme’ 1(c) /ndu + a/ → [nduwɑ] ‘enemy’ ‘enemy + feminine singular morpheme’ The possible solutions to avoid vowel-to-v…