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

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

Temporal Patterns in Syrian Arabic Voicing Assimilation

Martin Barry (1), Ryad Teifour (2)

(1) Department of Linguistics, The University of Manchester, UK
(2) Department of English, Al-Baath University, Homs, Syria

Acoustic analysis of CC sequences in colloquial Syrian Arabic shows that voicing assimilation is a gradient phonetic phenomenon correlated with speaking rate. Clusters in which the voicing values for the two consonants are opposed undergo regressive assimilation, to a greater extent at faster speaking rates. In [+voi][-voi] sequences devoicing extends progressively ‘leftwards’, i.e. as speaking rate increases, voicing in C1 ceases at progressively earlier points in time; while in [-voi][+voi] sequences C1 undergoes voicing which extends ‘rightwards’, i.e. as rate increases, carryover voicing from a preceding vowel increases in duration during C1, leaving a progressively shorter voiceless portion of C1 immediately prior to C2. The complexity of the temporal patterns observed point towards a revision of the Window Model of coarticulation involving explicit representation of the time domain in the specification of window width. Both syllabic position and speaking rate may influence the window size for a given speech sound.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Barry, Martin / Teifour, Ryad (1999): "Temporal patterns in Syrian Arabic voicing assimilation", In ICPhS-14, 2429-2432.