14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999


Al-Hamzah "The Glottal Stop" in Classical Arabic

Solomon I. Sara

Georgetown University, USA

Writing about Classical Arabic dates around eighth century, there ʔal-hamzah 'the glottal stop', with its own complex and varied distributional characteristics, is listed in the inventory of the phonological units. The most complete analysis of the glottal stop is that of Sībawayh, (762-793 A.D.) in his ʔal-Kitāb 'the book', where one finds it described in its various mutations. Sībawayh's description of the sounds of Arabic begins with the throat, proceeds through the pharynx to the oral cavity and ends at the lips. The glottal stop is the sound produced at the deepest extremity of the throat. In addition, he discusses the distribution of the glottal stop, with its phonotactical arrangements, which include seven states: a. Its full realization, b. Its partial realization, c. Its mutation with [A], d. Its mutation with [w], e. Its mutation with [j], f. Its deletion, and g. Its gemination/de-gemination.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Sara, Solomon I. (1999): "Al-hamzah "the glottal stop" in classical Arabic", In ICPhS-14, 1317-1320.