Challenging Sonority - Cross-linguistic Evidence - Martin J. Ball

Challenging Sonority - Cross-linguistic Evidence - Martin J. Ball

Sequential Constraints on Codas in Palestinian Arabic

Challenging Sonority - Cross-linguistic Evidence - Martin J. Ball

Samira Farwaneh [+-]
University of Arizona
Samira Farwaneh is an associate professor of Arabic language, linguistics and pedagogy at the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on Semitic phonology, morphology and sociolinguistics, particularly diglossia, bilingualism and language and gender.


In this paper I show, through an examination of permissible and impermissible coda sequences in Palestinian Arabic (PA) that the Sonority Sequencing Principle is a necessary but not sufficient constraint on syllable melody as it overgenerates impermissible sequences and fails to account for some permissible ones. The data which consist of monosyllabic deverbal and lexicalized nominals of the shape CVCC (superheavy syllables) reveal that in order to properly characterize the phonotactic properties of PA rhymes four principles are needed, three universal and one language-specific: the SSP, the Obligatory Contour Principle (OCP), Markedness constraint on obstruent sequences, and a coda condition on gutturals, none of which is reducible to the other. Section (1) of this paper gives an outline of the syllable structure in PA. The role of Sonority in well-formed complex codas is taken up in section (2) which favors a general Sonority Scale as in Clements (1988) over a scale with obstruent subdivisions (Jacobson 1904 and his followers). It also argues for the SSP as a negative condition on syllable templates thereby excluding sequences with rising sonority value only. Sections (3) discusses the role of the OCP, Section (4) addresses Markedness effects in determining optimal obstruent sequences with distinct feature values; they cannot be explained under the SSP because they possess the same degree of sonority. Nor can they be accounted for by the OCP because their feature value specifications are not identical. Section (5) shows that OCP and markedness effects cannot be viewed as a minimum sonority difference requirement between adjacent syllable positions, Hence, neither principle is reducible to the SSP. section (6) discusses apparent violations of all principles discussed, all of which involve redundant values. The language specific condition on gutturals is discussed in section (7).

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Farwaneh, Samira. Sequential Constraints on Codas in Palestinian Arabic. Challenging Sonority - Cross-linguistic Evidence. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 122-143 Oct 2016. ISBN 9781781792278. Date accessed: 04 Dec 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.28306. Oct 2016

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