The Phonological Alternations in the Noun of Instrument (fɪʕɑ:l)

Ayman Yasin, Mahmoud Al Qudah, Helen Al-Gweiri


The present paper aims at examining Arabic phonological alternations that occur when deriving the noun of instrument with the pattern fɪʕɑ:l from strong and weak trilateral verbs. To this end, the researcher chose 32 nouns of instrument from Al-muʕjam al-wasi:T (2001) that represent the strong and weak trilateral verbs evenly. The findings of the present study show that the nouns of instrument which are derived from strong trilateral verbs undergo systematic alternations since the non-high vowel /ɑ/ after the first radical alternates to the high vowel /ɪ/ and the short vowel after the second radical /ɑ/ corresponds to the long vowel /ɑ:/. Nouns of instruments which are derived from weak trilateral verbs can be classified into three classes: class one undergoes a systematic alternation where the non-high vowel /ɑ/ becomes a high vowel /ɪ/ and the short vowel /ɑ/ corresponds to the long vowel /ɑ:/. As for weak verbs, the following phonological processes are motivated: change of the non-high vowel /ɑ/ to a high vowel /ɪ/, ɑ-Assimilation Rule, Lengthening, and Insertion of the glottal stop /Ɂ/ at the end of the noun of instrument preceded by a long vowel /ɑ:/. Finally, the third class has two phonological changes: the high back rounded sonorant /w/ alternates to the high front unrounded sonorant /j/. After that, the short vowel /ɑ/ is lengthened.

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