CMA Phonotactics .pdf

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Mohammed V University – Agdal
Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences –
Rabat
Department of English
Master’s Program in Language and Linguistics

Casablanca Moroccan Arabic Consonant
Phonotactics

Paper Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Master’s Degree in Language and Linguistics

Page 1

Supervisor: Dr. Nour Taibi

Submitted by: Mbarek Elfarhaoui

Spring 2013

Page 2

Acknowlegements
I would like to express my gratitude to my supervisor Professor Nour Taibi for his
constant encouragement and guidance in the preparation of this thesis. Professor Taibi has
shown me that, indeed, phonology can be exciting. He has contributed to improve this work
by his challenging questions, sound criticism and insightful comments and suggestions,
leading to major revisions.
I would also like to thank my friends, especially Taha Hassan, Abderrazak Chaiba,
Abdelhak Bouhamed, Abdellah Bouaouda, Rezzaki Mohammed, Abdelhakim Boubekri and
those I cannot recall right now.
Finally, I wish to thank all my members of my family for their encouragement, moral and
emotional support while I was finalizing this work. To my mother Mina, to my brothers
Abdelmajid, Said, Abdel Aziz and Abdel latif, and to my sisters Hayat, Nezha and Asmae I
say thank you for helping me.

Page 3

Dedication

To The Memory of My Father …

Page 4

Abstract

This thesis is mainly concerned with the consonant phonotactics of Casablanca
Moroccan Arabic. I limited myself to the analysis of consonant phonotactics. I looked at the
possible and impossible clusters w-initially and w-finally (i.e. onsets and codas). As far as I
can tell, there is only one work on CMA syllable structure which was done by Abdedaziz
Boudlal (2001). He dealt with it from a constraint-based perspective, but he didn’t deal with
CMA co-occurrence restrictions. To the best of my knowledge, there is no research done
before on CMA phonotactics using feature geometry.
The purpose of this study is twofold. The main aim is to examine CMA co-occurrence
restrictions using the following theoretical outlooks: syllable structure (i.e. sonority principle),
autosegmental phonology (i.e. Obligatory Contour Principle) and constriction-based model of
feature geometry. The focus is on feature geometry since it is the major model that is used in
this study. The second aim is to describe and examine CMA syllable structure. I discussed the

Page 5

role of sonority in assigning syllable structure to sequences of segments. Since syllable
structure is so relevant to co-occurrence restrictions, I dwelt at length on CMA syllable
structure which of course helps clarify CMA phonotactics. Given the purely descriptive and
quantitative approach it adopts and the ample evidence it provides, the study is meant to be a
detailed reference for researchers on feature geometry, syllable structure and autosegmental
phonology.
Since my primary concern is empirical coverage, I dealt with the different phonological
processes, namely epenthesis, vowel reduction, vowel lengthening, strengthening, weakening,
diphthongization, and glide formation. I also made use of various tools with which I examined
CMA consonant phonotactics such as a constriction-based model, Obligatory Contour
Principle, a two- root theory of length, etc.

List of Abbreviations
CMA:

Casablanca Moroccan Arabic

Con:

Consonantal

C:

Coda

ESAs:

Emphatic Spreading Agents

F:

Foot

Fem:

Feminine

GL:

Geminate Law

O:

Onset

OCP:

Obligatory Contour Principle

MA:

Moroccan Arabic

Page 6

Mas:

Masculine

NNC:

No Crossing Constraint

N:

Nucleus

Pl:

Plural

Pers:

Person

PW:

Phonological Word

Sg:

Singular

Syl:

Syllabic

Son:

Sonorant

SSAA :

Syllable Structure Assignment Algorithm

SSP :

Sonority Sequencing Principle

List of Phonetic Symbols
Consonants
b

Voiced bilabial stop

f

Voiceless labiodental fricative

t

Voiceless alveolar stop

d

Voiced alveolar stop

s

Voiceless alveolar fricative

z

Voiced alveolar fricative

T

Emphatic voiceless alveolar stop

D

Emphatic voiced alveolar fricative

Page 7

S

Emphatic voiceless alveolar fricative

Z

Emphatic voiced alveolar fricative

ʃ

Voiceless palatal fricative

Ʒ

Voiced palatal fricative

k

Voiceless velar stop

g

Voiced velar stop

x

Voiceless velar fricative

γ

Voiced velar fricative

q

Voiceless uvular stop

m

Bilabial nasal

n

Alveolar nasal

l

Alveolar liquid

r

Alveolar trill

R

Emphatic alveolar trill

ħ

Voiceless pharyngeal fricative

ʕ

Voiced pharyngeal fricative

h

Voiced laryngeal fricative

Ɂ

Glottal stop

w

Labiovelar glide

y

Palatal glide

Vowels
i

High front unrounded

u

High back rounded

a

Low back unrounded

ә

Mid central unrounded

Page 8

Table of Contents
Acknowledgments

1

Dedication

2

Abstract

3

List of Abbreviations

4

List of Phonetic Symbols

5

Table of contents

7

General Introduction

11

Chapter I: Some Aspects of CMA Phonology and Morphology

14

I.0. Introduction

14

I.1. Geographical and Dialectal Situation of Casablanca

14

Page 9


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