Patterns of gemination in Moroccan arabic : Issues in phonology and morphology

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Patterns of gemination in Moroccan arabic : Issues in phonology and morphology

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Title: Patterns of gemination in Moroccan arabic : Issues in phonology and morphology
Author: Noamane Ayoub
Abstract: Geminate consonants in Moroccan Arabic (MA) are omnipresent. Besides their phonemic and distinctive nature, they also arise through phonological and morphological processes. In this dissertation, we examine in detail the phonological and morphological patterning of geminates in MA, using the constraint-based framework of Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993/2004; McCarthy & Prince,1993a, 1993b, 1995). Along this line of investigation, the issues of geminate distribution, geminate behavior, geminate representation, word minimality, syllable structure, schwa epenthesis and morphological lengthening are scrutinized. This dissertation aspires to be the most comprehensive linguistic study of geminate patterns in MA. In this capacity, our work is meant to be an in-depth exploration of a significant, yet surprisingly understudied, part of the sound system of MA. In the phonology part, this dissertation explores the special behavior of geminate consonants vis-á-vis short consonants and consonant clusters. By way of comparison, it is shown that geminates exhibit properties that are reminiscent of both unit structures and cluster structures. In order to characterize the patterning of geminates in MA, it is suggested that geminates should be depicted as two root nodes which are underlyingly associated with a mora. Evidence for the moraicity of geminates is illustrated by data pertaining to word minimality, syllabification and word formation. Furthermore, the syllabification of geminates in their different positions is investigated. It is argued that hetrosyllabicity characterizes geminates in all positions and follows from their moraic structure instead of their bi-positional structure. In the morphology part, the focus is placed on the effect of morphology on geminate integrity and the role of consonant lengthening in word formation. As far as geminate integrity is concerned, the idea entertained is that geminate integrity in MA is systematically subject to breaking by means of morphologically motivated vowels. On the contrary, phonological vowels (i.e. schwa epenthesis) seem to fail in splitting geminates. Furthermore, it is shown that gemination can be employed by morphology to mark the derivation of various forms, namely morphological causatives, agent nouns and instrument nouns. In analyzing this case of morphological gemination, a moraic affix is posited, whose landing position is defined by constraints on syllabic well-formedness. In addition to investigating the phonological and morphological patterning of geminates in MA, this work also addresses the morphological status of the root as a base of derivation in the morphology of MA. In particular, a chapter is devoted to motivating a root-based approach to morphology based on theoretical evidence from the formation of morphological causatives and the comparative form.
Date: 2018-11

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