The Phonetic Realization of Obstruent Clusters in Najdi Arabic: An Exploratory Study
Keywords:Najdi Arabic, consonant cluster, Arabic dialect, obstruents, vowel deletion
This study provides an acoustic analysis of the realization of the surface word-initial obstruent clusters that resulted from the deletion of short vowels in Najdi Arabic. While past studies discussed the syllable structure of Najdi Arabic and affirmed the permissibility of initial consonant clusters, most of these studies lack acoustic analyses that attest the occurrence of initial consonant clusters and left much uncertainty about the allowed and disallowed segments in the clusters. The aim of the present research is to address this gap in the literature by conducting an acoustic analysis that examined the types and patterns of the allowed obstruent clusters in the Najdi Arabic dialect. Two methods were implemented to collect the data: informal interview and a reading task. The stimuli represented the four types of obstruent clusters: fricative-fricative, fricative-plosive, plosive-fricative, and plosive-plosive. Fourteen native Najdi Arabic speakers (7 males, 7 females) were recruited. The findings of this study affirm the presence of the four types of the obstruent clusters and provide a description of their patterns in Najdi Arabic. This finding enhances our understanding of the phonology of Najdi Arabic and contributes to the wide-ranging context of Arabic dialectology with regards to phonotactics and syllable structure.
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