Phonological adaptation of English loanwords in Ammani Arabic

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Abu Guba, MN

This thesis investigates the phonological adaptation of English loanwords in Ammani Arabic (AA) in order to enhance our understanding of phonological theory and of AA phonology. The thesis also serves as documentation of the dialect in a state of flux. In contrast to previous studies, this study accounts for the phonological adaptation of loanwords not only at the segmental level, but also at the suprasegmental/prosodic level, adopting moraic theory within an OT framework. To achieve this, a corpus of 407 established English loanwords are analysed as they are pronounced by 12 AA monolingual native speakers.\ud The study reveals that the adaptation process is mainly phonological, albeit informed by phonetics and other linguistic factors. AA native phonology accounts for the numerous modifications that English loanwords undergo. It is shown that the adaptation process is geared towards unmarkedness in that faithfulness to the source input is violated in order to render the output unmarked. Unmarked structures in the adaptation process may arise even though their marked counterparts are equally attested in AA native phonology, giving rise to the Emergence of the Unmarked.\ud With respect to segmental adaptation, results show that AA maps source segments onto their phonologically closest AA phonemes. However, source allophonic features that are contrastive in AA are faithfully mapped onto their AA phonemic counterparts. For syllabic adaptation, loanwords undergo a number of phonological processes, e.g. epenthesis and gemination, to accommodate ill-formed source syllables into AA phonotactic structure. The study shows that English source stress is mostly neglected in the adaptation process with stress assigned to the adapted phonological string according to AA stress constraints.\ud The introduction of English loanwords has given rise to new data that invoked hidden phonological constraints that would have remained latent in AA phonology. This study has resulted in a better understanding of AA phonology by shedding light on various AA phonological aspects chief among which are gemination, stress assignment constraints, and syllable structure.
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