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|Phonological adaptation of English loanwords into Qassimi Arabic :an optimality- theoretic account
|Alhoody, Metab Mohammad A
|Within the field of loanword phonology, this study enhances our understanding of the role played by the contrastive features of the borrowing language in shaping the segmental adaptation patterns of loanwords from the source language. This has been achieved by performing a theoretical analysis of the segmental adaptation patterns of English loanwords into Qassimi Arabic, a dialect spoken in the region of Qassim in central Saudi Arabia, using an Optimality-Theoretic framework. The central argument of this study assumes that the inputs to QA are fully-specified English outputs, which serve as inputs to QA. Then, the native grammar of QA allows only the phonological features of inputs to surface that are contrastive in QA. Thus, redundant or noncontrastive phonological features in QA are eliminated from the outputs. The evidence behind the argument that the contrastive features of QA segments play a main role in the adaptation process emerges from adapting the English segments that are non-native in QA. For instance, English lax vowels /ɪ/, /ʊ/, /æ/ are adapted as their tense counterparts in QA [i], [u] and [a]. I have argued that the reason for this adaptation lies in the fact that the feature [ATR] is not a contrastive feature within the QA vowel inventory. Therefore, dispensing with the value of the input feature [-ATR] culminates in the tense vowels appearing at the surface level. To identify the contrastive features of QA phonological inventory, I rely on the Contrastive Hierarchy Theory proposed by Dresher (2009). This theory suggests that phonological features should be ordered hierarchically to obtain only the contrastive features of any phonological inventory. This is achieved by dividing any inventory into subsets of features until each segment is distinguished contrastively from all others. Therefore, the features of QA segments are built initially into a contrastive hierarchy model. Within this hierarchy, features are created and ordered according to one or more of the following motivations: Activity, Minimality and Universality. Finally, the contrastive hierarchy of QA segment inventory is converted into OT constraints. The ranking of these constraints is sufficient to account for the evaluations of the segmental adaptation patterns of loanwords from English into QA. For instance, based on the contrastive hierarchy of QA, /b/ is contrastively specified as [-sonorant, +labial, -continuant]. In the adaptation of English consonants, the English input segment /p/ is mapped consistently to [b] in the QA. In this case, the contrastive hierarchy of QA consonant inventory contains the co-occurrence constraints *[αVoice, +labial] and *[αCoronal, +labial], which filter the input features if the input is fully-specified [-sonorant, +labial, -coronal, -continuant, -voiced, …], and permits only the contrastive features [-sonorant, +labial, -continuant] to surface.
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|School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics
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