Some Characteristics of Syllable Structure in Qassimi Arabic (QA): An Optimality Theoretic Framework

  •  Metab Alhoody    
  •  Mohammad Aljutaily    


The paper investigates the syllable structures of Qassimi Arabic (QA), which is a sub-dialect of Najdi Arabic (NA) and is spoken in the north-central region of Saudi Arabia, particularly in the Qassim Region. Within the framework of Optimality Theory (OT), we show how the well-formed syllable is derived from the interaction of constraints. We show how the OT captures some of the major processes for structuring the syllables of QA, such as syncope, epenthesis, and geminate. The analysis revealed that onsetless syllables are prohibited in QA. The dialect allows word-initial consonant clusters, which is a result of the syncope process. Coda clusters also occur in QA that must obey the Sonority Sequencing Principle (SSP); otherwise, epenthesis presents to repair the violation. As for the geminates, QA permits geminates medially and finally, but not initially. The data revealed that QA demonstrates seven fundamental syllable structures grouped into three categories: light syllables, as in CV; heavy syllables, as in CVV and CVC; and super heavy syllables, as in CVVC, CVCC, CCVVC and CVVCC.

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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