Emphasis Spread in Qassimi Arabic Within the Underspecification Theory

Bader Alharbi, Ammar Alammar


In Qassimi Arabic, the emphatic segments /tˤ, sˤ, ðˤ, rˤ/ spread their emphasis feature to the neighboring vowels turning the front feature of the vowels /ɪ,æ,æː/ into back. However, the front vowels /iː,eː/ are not affected by this process and consequently maintain their front feature in the adjacency of the emphatic segments. In this work, we provide a theoretical analysis of Emphasis Spread in the dialect of Qassimi Arabic within the underspecification theory. It has been concluded that the vowels /ɪ,æ,æː/ are underlying underspecified for the back feature, whereas the vowels /iː,eː/ are underlyingly specified for the back feature. The emphatic segments spread their secondary feature [Dorso-Pharyngeal] to the adjacent underspecified vowels and thus make them back. However, they fail to spread their secondary feature to the vowels /iː,eː/ because they have an underlying back feature. Therefore, unlike many other phonological theories, the underspecification theory can provide a more straightforward and precise analysis of Emphasis Spread. As a result, that would allow us to account for the various effects of emphatics examined in the different Arabic dialects, on the one hand, or, more broadly, any similar assimilation process in other languages, on the other.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/wjel.v12n1p407

World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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