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Vowel Reduction

(991 words)

Author(s): Thami Benkirane
Basically, the phenomenon of vowel reduction results from the shortening of a linguistic unit. This shortening can be due to sociolinguistic factors, phonetic evolution, apocope, phonotactic constraints, temporal adjustments dictated by prosodic events such as sandhi (i.e. the fusion of sounds across word boundaries, or alteration of sounds due to neighboring sounds), accentual contrast, increase in the speech rate, etc. Consider the following examples from Moroccan Arabic: (1) /## l + magana# djal# xa+ i ## / ## the + watch # of # brother + pronoun 1st person singular ## ‘my brother'…
Date: 2018-04-01

Prosody

(3,141 words)

Author(s): Thami Benkirane
Etymologically, the Greek term prosōidía means ‘stress, quantity, in pronunciation’. We give it a broad sense which includes syllable, stress, pitch, intonation, rhythm, rate of speech, pause, etc. The American tradition uses the term ‘suprasegmental’ to express the idea that the domain of prosody is larger than a single segment and that prosodic phenomena are revealed by a comparison of items in sequence (Lehiste 1970). The prosodic component of language plays a fundamental role in first language acquisition. Several experimental studies have established tha…
Date: 2018-04-01

Vowel Elision

(1,145 words)

Author(s): Thami Benkirane
Elision refers to the deletion of sound segments of differing natures (i.e. consonants, vowels, syllables). The factors responsible for this may be related to various phonetic, phonological, and prosodic constraints in the languages of the world. In French, for example, elision occurs so as to prevent vowel-to-vowel contact where vowels are attested at the initial position of words, as in the following examples: 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, no…
Date: 2018-04-01