An Optimality Theoretic Analysis of Broken Plurals in Muscat Arabic

Khalsa Al Aghbari


Muscat Arabic exhibits unique prosodic tendencies in the formation of broken plurals which, as a result of their uniqueness, have not received adequate theoretical exploration in the literature of broken plural formation. Building on McCarthy’s pre-Optimality Theoretic claims on broken plurals in Classical Arabic, I argue that an ‘affixed mora [μ]’ attached at a certain locus in the broken plurals enforces two expansions of the iambic foot to be realized in two distinct shapes of broken plurals in Muscat Arabic. I further show that the affixed [μ] associates in a position that does not disrupt the prosodic and syllabic canons of the language as a whole. This is manifested in a ranked set of constraints couched in a unified Optimality Theoretic analysis which reflects the grammar of Muscat Arabic.

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