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Title: Jeddah Arabic intonation : an autosegmental-metrical approach
Authors: Moussa, Hajar Ahmed
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis is a theoretical and instrumental investigation of intonation in Jeddah Arabic, an urban Arabic variety spoken in west Saudi Arabia. The study is carried out in an attempt to establish the dialect’s prosodic properties and to widen the scope and volume of the literature on Arabic prosody that would in turn aid in the cross-dialectal comparison of prosodic and intonational patterns. The investigation is carried out in light of the Auto-Segmental Metrical theory of intonation- a theory that has been reported to account for the intonational patterns of many languages. In AM theory, intonation is manifested via prominent F0 behaviour in interaction with phonological structure, hence maintains a close relationship between accent distribution and phonological/metrical structure. This F0 behaviour is examined acoustically through pitch level, range and excursion size, in the form of increased peak height and excursion, pitch compression or absence thereof to mark intonational structure. In addition to pitch, other acoustic correlates such as duration and amplitude are examined as well. The thesis includes the examination of the different tunes, postlexical phrasing, and accent categories (contour shapes) that occur in the dialect. Moreover, and as an integral part of AM analysis, the thesis closely examines both theoretically and acoustically the concepts of tonal alignment and accentuation and information structure in this Arabic dialect. Data for the study were collected from 20 native male and female speakers of Jeddah Arabic. Data were then semiautomatically segmented and manually transcribed using a modified TOBI system for Arabic. It is found that JA speakers rely on both qualitative and quantitative detail to enhance intonationally important material that is conveyed prosodically. The results also point to that JA is a stress-accent language that is although similar to other languages in this group, contributes differently to the general cross-language prosodic variation. The dialect demonstrates prominent pitch accents that faithfully associate and align with stressed syllables and are distributed in two intonational levels above the prosodic word: the intermediate phrase and the intonational phrase. Those two intonational levels are found to be marked by both tonal and non-tonal correlates. Experimental evidence shows that contrary to the typical reported correlates of those prosodic constituents, in JA intermediate phrases boundaries demonstrate longer pre-boundary units than intonational phrases. This non-tonal pattern in intermediate phrase boundaries correlates with later alignment of the tone with respect to the onset of the stressed syllable.
Description: IPhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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