One as Two and Two as One? The Patterning of Geminates and Affricates in Arabic Dialects

  • Date:
  • Time: 11:00 - 12:30

Professor Stuart Davis from the University of Indiana will be presenting a paper on 28th May at 11am in the Emmanuel Centre SR 02, University of Leeds.

This talk brings together research on the patterning of geminates and affricates in Arabic dialects. A geminate involves a single articulatory gesture phonetically but can often pattern as a cluster of two consonants or as a weighted (moraic) consonant. On the other hand, an affricate phonetically involves two different articulatory gestures but can pattern as a single consonant phonologically. All Arabic dialects have geminates. Virtually all dialects have affricates, but in a good number of dialects, such as Cairene Arabic, affricates only occur in derived contexts either through affixation (e.g. the final consonant sequence in Cairene [ma-katabit-ʃ] ‘she did not write’) or vowel deletion (e.g. Cairene Arabic [bi-t-ʃuuf], ‘you (m.) see’). In this talk I provide evidence that the patterning of geminate consonants is largely uniformed across dialects, as being moraic (though not always like a consonant cluster), while the patterning of affricates varies in the sense that derived affricates may in some dialects behave as bisegmental (e.g. Cairene) but in other dialects may pattern as monosegmental (as in San’ani). The evidence that geminate consonants pattern as moraic comes from the patterning of word-final geminates, the behavior of geminates with respect to stress, the occurrence of geminates in loanwords, and L1 phonologcial acquisition. Examples illustrating geminate patterning will be shown from a variety of dialects but with a focus on Cairene Arabic.  Evidence for the variable patterning of (derived) affricates as one segment or two will come from relevant data from five dialects and will reference affricate patterning as reflected in phonotactics, stress, vowel shortening, syncope, loanwords and diminutive formation. One generalization that will emerge is that a derived affricate can only pattern as a single segments in dialects that have at least one underlying affricate phoneme.