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Variable word onset vowel deletion in Najdi Arabic

Alsabhan, R. and Setter, J. ORCID: (2023) Variable word onset vowel deletion in Najdi Arabic. In: The 20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS), 7-11 August 2023, Prague, Czechia, pp. 2100-2104. (Radek Skarnitzl & Jan Volín (eds). Guarant International. ISBN 9788090811423)

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The literature on Arabic dialects agrees that short vowels are deleted word-initially, resulting in surface consonant clusters. This study supplements the existing literature by acoustically analysing word onset vowel deletion in Najdi Arabic (NA), a dialect spoken in central Saudi Arabia. It aims to examine the phonetic deletion of the vowel within an obstruent context. Given the relatively lower frequency of obstruents cross-linguistically [1], the abundance of such sounds in the Arabic language presents a compelling context for investigating vowel deletion and its conditioning factors. Forty-five NA native speakers (31 females, 14 males) were recruited to do three production tasks: diapix, reading and shadowing tasks. The results showed that 54% of the data were produced with vowel deletion, the favouring factor being the place of articulation of the first obstruent, where the deletion was more likely to occur following a dorsal obstruent than following coronal, labial and pharyngeal obstruents. The gender of the speaker also influenced vowel deletion, where male listeners were more likely to delete more vowels than female speakers.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:112957
Additional Information:Full published conference proceedings are available at


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