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Saturday, October 12 • 1:40pm - 2:05pm
Freeman: Variation patterns of the post-velarized rhotic in Moroccan Arabic

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Variation patterns of the post-velarized rhotic in Moroccan Arabic

Moroccan Arabic, like many other varieties of Arabic, has a distinction between rhotics with and without post-velar secondary articulation which is distributionally ambiguous between phonetic conditioning and phonemic contrast. The ‘emphatic’ post-velarized rhotic [ṛ] has a historically vowel-conditioned distributional pattern with respect to [r] which has been complicated by morphological regularization and lexical diffusion in contemporary spoken varieties. This study indicates that in the city of Fes, the emphatic rhotic is irregularly distributed, exhibiting patterns of occurrence that vary idiosyncratically within the speech community. Certain morphological paradigms maintain a vowel-conditioned alternation for almost all speakers, while in other paradigms either [ṛ] or [r] tends to be generalized across phonetic contexts. For certain speakers, a phonetically intermediate acoustic signature similar to that of uvular consonants was found to occur, suggesting that the rhotic post-velarization contrast is variable in both phonology and phonetics.


Aaron Freeman

University of Pennsylvania

Saturday October 12, 2019 1:40pm - 2:05pm PDT
EMU Crater Lake N
  T: Consonants
  • Session type Talk
  • Chair: Betsy Sneller
  • Award Finalist: Lillian B. Stueber Prize