/dˤ/-Variation in Saudi Newscasting and Phonological Theory

  •  Yasser A. Al-Tamimi    


In his analysis of /dˤ/-variation in Saudi Arabian newscasting, Al-Tamimi (2020) finds unpredicatble variability between the standard variant [dˤ] and the non-standard variant [ðˤ] in different in-words positions, in different phonetic environments, and in semantically ‘content’ and suprasegmentally ‘stressed’ lexical itmes assumed to favor the standard variant. He even finds in many of these lexical items an unusual realizational flucatuation between the two variants. The present exploratory and ‘theory-testing’ study aims to find a reasonable account for these findings through examining the explanatory adequacy of a number of available phonological theories, notions, models and proposals that have made different attempts to accommodate variation, and this includes Coexistent Phonemic Systems, Standard Generative Phonology, Lexical Diffusion, Variable Rules, Poly-Lectal Grammar, Articulatory Phonology, different versions of the Optimality Theory, in addition to the Multiple-Trace-Model, as represented by Al-Tamimi’s (2005) Multiple-Trace-Based Proposal. The study reveals the strengths and weaknesses of these theories in embracing the variability in the data, and concludes that the Multiple-Trace-Based Proposal can relatively offer the best insight as its allows variation to be directly encoded in the underlying representations of lexical items, a status strictly prohibited by the rest of the theories that adopt invariant lexical representations in consonance with the ‘Homogeneity Doctrine’.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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