POSITIONAL CONTRAST AND NEUTRALIZATION OF VOICING IN CLASSICAL ARABIC

Abstract

Arabic consonant segments are distributed in accordance with the phonetic and phonemic environments. Different phonetic environments creat different perceptual or voicing cues. There are seven voicing cues to voicing asymmetry in plosives: closure voicing, closure duration, duration of preceding sonorant,values of the first formant frequency (F1) in the preceding vowel, burst duration and amplitude, voicing onset time (VOT), and values of fundamental frequency (Fo) as well as (F1) values at the onset voicing (Steriade, 1997) otherwise voicing is neutralized. Different phonemic environments refer to the different positions that the segments occupy in the syllable constituent of prosodic structure such as intrasyllabic segments (onset-coda) or adjacent intersyllabic ones (coda-onset) and each phonological position is subject to the licencing principles (Kaye, 1990). In classical Arabic, voicing is asymmetrical in intrasyllabic or adjacent intersyllabic environments whereas neutralized in word boundry.