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Vocalism and stress in the Arabic dialect of Tangier

Peter Behnstedt

Pages 68 - 95

The Arabic dialect spoken in Tangier has some particular features which distinguish it from other urban pre-Hilalian dialects such as those of Fes, Tetouan, or Chefchaouen. Vocalism in Tangier Arabic shows three long vowels /ā/, /ī/, /ū/ and four short ones /ă/, /ǝ̆, /ĭ/, /ŭ/. Our informants frequently shorten long vowels in post-tonic closed and doubly closed syllables. Concerning the four short vowels, our corpus comprising minimal pairs, namely /ŭ/≠/ĭ/, /ǝ̆/≠/ĭ/, /ǝ̆/≠/ă/, /ă/≠/ŭ/, and /ǝ̆/≠/ŭ/ determines the phonemic quality of these TA short vowels. Stress in TA is notably stable, falling on the penultimate syllable both in isolated words and sentences. In short, in TA word stress is always paroxytone, and in sentences it is less free than has been supposed, being always either oxytone or paroxytone.


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