Lateral fricatives and lateral emphatics in southern Saudi Arabia and Mehri

Watson, JCE and Al-Azraqi, M 2011, Lateral fricatives and lateral emphatics in southern Saudi Arabia and Mehri , in: Seminar for Arabian Studies, 22-24 July 2010, London.

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Arabic was traditionally described as lughat al-Ρād ‘the language of Ρād’ due to the perceived unusualness of the sound. From Sībawayhi’s description, early Arabic Ρād was clearly a lateral or lateralized emphatic. Lateral fricatives are assumed to have formed part of the phoneme inventory of Proto-Semitic, and are attested in Modern South Arabian languages (MSAL) today. In Arabic, a lateral realization of Ρād continues to be attested in some recitations of the QurΜān. For Arabic, the lateral Ρād described by Sībawayhi was believed to be confined to dialects spoken in ДaΡramawt. Recent fieldwork by Asiri and al-Azraqi, however, has identified lateral and lateralized emphatics in dialects of southern ΚAsīr and the Saudi Tihāmah. These sounds differ across the varieties, both in their phonation (voicing) and manner of articulation — sonorants and voiced and voiceless fricatives — in their degree of laterality, and in their phonological behaviour: the lateralized Ρād in the southern Yemeni dialect of GhaylΉabbān, for example, has a non-lateralized allophone in the environment of /r/ or /l/. Recent phonetic work conducted by Watson on the Modern South Arabian language, Mehri, shows a similar range of cross-dialect variety in the realization of the lateral(ized) emphatic. In this paper, we discuss different reflexes of lateral(ized) emphatics in four dialects of the Saudi Tihāmah; we show that some of these dialects contrast cognates of *Ρ and *·; and we show that lateral emphatics attested in dialects of the Modern South Arabian language, Mehri, spoken in areas considerably to the south of the Saudi Tihāmah, show a similar degree of variation to that of the Arabic dialects of the Saudi Tihāmah.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: ISBN - 9781905739332
Themes: Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies
Publisher: Archaeopress
Refereed: Yes
Funders: King Faisal Research Center
Depositing User: JCE Watson
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2011 09:51
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 12:19

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