The Sound System of Zubairi Arabic: A Phonological Sketch

Majid Abdulatif Ibrahim


The present paper sheds light on Zubairi phonology from a segmental standpoint. It covers five major issues: the consonantal system, the vowel system, phonontactics, geminate and syllable structure. As for the consonantal system, Zubairi Arabic has a relatively conservative consonantal inventory on functional and phonetic grounds. They are categorized into two main classes: obstruents and sonorants. The Zubairi vowel system includes 8 vowel phonemes whose distinctive function and length differences are greatly affected by some environments. In fact, Zubairi Arabic does not exploit all the possible combinations of its phonemes. Different phonotactic parameters can be set to permit that certain types of consonant clusters are subject to constraints initially and medially. In addition, Zubairi consonants can be generally subsumed under the process of lengthening, i.e. geminate. consonant geminate can either be word-medially or word-finally. Concerning syllable structure, Zubairi Arabic exhibits 10 syllabic patterns: /cv/, /cvv/, /ccvv/, /cvc/, /ccvc/, /cvcc/, /cvvc/, /ccvvc/and /ccvcc/.

Key words: Consonants; Vowels; Phonotactics; Consonant geminates; Syllable structures


Consonants; Vowels; Phonotactics; Consonant geminates; Syllable structures



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