Phonological Processes in Algerian Arabic as Spoken in Mostaganem: An Optimalty Perspective

Radia Benyoucef, Radwan Mahadin


This study attempts to identify some of the phonological processes that are manifested in Mostaganem Spoken Arabic (MTG), a dialect of Algerian Arabic, and account for such processes within an optimality theory (OT) framework. The findings of the study identified four types of phonological processes in MTG, namely epenthesis, syncope, assimilation and major class change. Epenthesis includes /@/ epenthesis to avoid tri-consonantal onsets and /j/ epenthesis between /i/ and /a/ so as to prevent vowel hiatus. Syncope involves the deletion of /@/ when it occurs in an unstressed open syllable. Assimilation is sub-divided to voice assimilation in which an obstruent changes its voice feature so as to agree with a following obstruent. Place assimilation which occurs when the nasal /n/ is realized as a labial in order to be homorganic with a following labial. Total assimilation which involves a change in the voice and manner features of /l/ of the definite article / ?@l/ ‘the’ so that it becomes totally identical to a following coronal consonant. Major class change involves a change from the vowels /i/ and /u/ to the glides /j/ and /w/ in order to avoid vowel hiatus. Application of OT in order to account for those phonological processes indicated that all four types of phonological processes are the outcome of interaction between certain types of markedness constraints and faithfulness constraints.

Keywords: Phonological processes, constraints, OT, epenthesis, syncope, assimilation, major class change, Mostaganem Spoken Arabic.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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