An Autosegmental Account of Melodic Processes in Jordanian Rural Arabic

Zainab Sa’aida


This study aims at providing an autosegmental account of feature spread in assimilatory situations in Jordanian rural Arabic. I hypothesise that in any assimilatory situation in Jordanian rural Arabic the undergoer assimilates a whole or a portion of the matrix of the trigger. I also hypothesise that assimilation in Jordanian rural Arabic is motivated by violation of the obligatory contour principle on a specific tier or by spread of a feature from a trigger to a compatible undergoer. Data of the study were analysed in the framework of autosegmental phonology with focus on the notion of dominance in assimilation. Findings of the study have revealed that an undergoer assimilates a whole of the matrix of a trigger in the assimilation of /t/ of the detransitivizing prefix /Ɂɪt-/, coronal sonorant assimilation, and inter-dentalization of dentals. However, partial assimilation occurs in the processes of nasal place assimilation, anticipatory labialization, and palatalization of plosives. Findings have revealed that assimilation occurs when the obligatory contour principle is violated on the place tier. Violation is then resolved by deletion of the place node in the leftmost matrix and by right-to-left spread of a feature from rightmost matrix to leftmost matrix. It has been also revealed that spread of a primary or a non-primary feature from a trigger to an undergoer can motivate assimilation to occur in some assimilatory situations in Jordanian rural Arabic.


Melody, Autosegmental Phonology, Dominance Model, Obligatory Contour Principle, Assimilation, Jordanian Rural Arabic

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