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Title: Voicing Contrast in Najdi Arabic Stops: Implications for Laryngeal Realism
Authors: Al-Gamdi, Nief Aied
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The present study investigates the phonetic and phonological aspects of the voicing contrast in stops in Najdi Arabic, a dialect that has been found to contrast prevoiced and aspirated stops. This study discusses the implications of the acoustic correlates of Voiceless and Voiced stops for the phonological representation of the voicing contrast in this variety and examines the connection between the acoustic signal and the distinctive features that specify the opposition by employing the types of evidence proposed in the realm of laryngeal realism. These types of evidence include the manifestation of acoustic correlates of stops in various positions, speech rate effect on aspiration and prevoicing, and the Voiceless and Voiced stops’ behaviour in stop-stop clusters across word boundary in terms of regressive voicing assimilation. The manifestation of the acoustic correlates of Voiceless and Voiced stops shows that Voiceless stops are aspirated in the examined positions whereas Voiced stops show robust prevoicing in utterance-initial and utterance-medial contexts. The acoustic correlates also show that Voiceless stops are robustly accompanied by longer closure, longer burst, higher F0 and F1 onset, and lower burst intensity. Voiced stops, on the other hand, are robustly accompanied by shorter closure (utterance-medially), shorter burst, lower F0 and F1, and higher burst intensity. Speech rate affects both aspiration and prevoicing in Voiceless and Voiced stops, respectively. Prevoicing and aspiration are lengthened in normal speech rate in comparison to fast speech rate. Stop-stop cluster results show that both Voiceless and Voiced stops trigger some (de)voicing in the preceding member of the cluster. The acoustic analysis reveals that Voiceless stops show voicing assimilation in F0/F1 and burst intensity but not in voicing in the closure. For Voiced stops, the results show a degree of devoicing in their closure but not in F0/F1 and burst intensity. The results suggest that Voiceless and Voiced stops in Najdi Arabic have features from both aspirating and voicing languages. This claim is supported by the three types of evidence implemented in this study. The assumption that both Voiceless and Voiced stops are specified implicates that the voicing contrast in Najdi Arabic is overspecified in the phonology with two features, [spread glottis] and [voice]. Applying the numeric values of phonetic distinctive features proposed by Beckman et al. (2013), on the scale of 1 to 9, the present study claims that Voiced stops in Najdi Arabic are specified with [9 voice] while Voiceless stops are specified with [8 spread glottis], mainly because of the existence of moderate aspiration in utterance-initial Voiceless stops and the robust prevoicing found in utterance-initial and utterance-medial Voiced stops (1 means inactive, 9 means highly active). The phonological repercussions for the proposed overspecification in the voicing contrast in Najdi Arabic are discussed with a specific focus on the inclusion of such a patterning in theoretical models of voicing.
Description: Ph.D. (Integrated) Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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