Epenthesis Patterns in Arabic Dialects: A Government-Based Approach

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Journal Title, Volume, Page: 
Department of Linguistics SOAS, University of London
Year of Publication: 
Suha Jawabreh
Current Affiliation: 
Department of English Language and Literature ,Faculty of humanities, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine
Preferred Abstract (Original): 

This dissertation discusses patterns of epenthesis in three modern Arabic dialects: Cairene, Palestinian and Moroccan. It provides an account of patterns of vowel~zero alternations in these dialects within the model of Complexity Scales and Licensing (CSL). CSL is a modified version of the standard model of Government Phonology. It is based on the assumption the phonological organization of segments results from the interaction between various levels of syllabic complexity and the strength of nuclei as licensers of phonological structure. Furthermore, this theoretical model is fully compatible with the assumption that the syllable structure of Arabic is, in fact, a sequence of CV syllables. Epenthesis in Arabic dialects is motivated to rectify undesirable clusters. However, the position of the epenthetic vowel in these clusters is variable across dialects. The variability in the position of the epenthetic vowel and diverse surface syllable structure are attributed to different licensing properties of nuclei. Therefore, crossdialectal variation consists in dialects choosing how much syllabic complexity their nuclei will license. Syllabic complexity is, in turn, defined by the presence and the type of a governing relation between consonants. 

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