A Constraint-based Analysis of Velar Affrication in Najdi vs. Hijazi Arabic

Mahmoud S. Al Mahmoud


This paper attempts to account for the velar affrication in Najdi Arabic (NA) and its absence in Hijazi Arabic (HA). While NA consistently alters /k/ into [ts], and /ɡ/ into [dz], HA retains the velars and as such is more faithful to standard Arabic. The analysis follows from an Optimality-Theoretic (OT) framework (Prince and Smolensky, 1993) explicating different constraint interactions and introducing new markedness constraints. It is argued that the realizations of the velars as [k] and [ɡ] are in free variation distribution with their allophonic affricate counterparts [ts] and [dz], respectively, although the two variants of the same phoneme alternate under phonologically conditioned contexts.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/elr.v6i2.17551


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