An experimental study of consonant gemination in Iraqi colloquial Arabic
This thesis is an experimental study of the single/geminate contrasts in Iraqi Colloquial Arabic (I. C. Arabic).It falls into two major parts. Part One is the theoretical part of this study. It comprises two Chapters. Chapter One explains the linguistic significance of gemination in Arabic and sheds some light on the historical background of the phonetic studies initiated by the old Arab grammarians. The syllable structure and the stress patterns both in Classical Arabic and in I. C. Arabic are dealt with. Recent theoretical and experimental studies on Arabic gemination are reviewed. Chapter Two presents a general survey of the literature. The distinctions between long, double and geminate consonants are clarified. Theoretical and experimental studies on gemination in languages other than Arabic are also reviewed. Part Two is the experimental part of this study. It comprises five chapters. Chapter Three is an initial investigation that illustrates the acoustic characteristics of single and geminate consonants used in isolated words as well as in contextual utterances. Chapter Four is a synthetic investigation of geminate consonants carried out with the help of a microcomputer. It investigates the roles played by the segmental durations in the perception of single versus geminate consonants in I. C. Arabic. The theory of 'categorical perception' is then discussed in relation to our data. Chapter Five provides a palatographic evidence of the distinctions between geminate consonants and their single counterparts. It also reviews earlier palatographic studies and discusses the main advantages of the technique of palatography, both static and dynamic, in phonetic research. Chapter Six represents the major experimental work in this study. It investigates the articulatory, aerodynamic and acoustic aspects of the geminate/non-geminate consonants in I. C. Arabic. Two experiments are included in this chapter; the pilot experiment and the main experiment.Because a considerable number of variables are involved in the two experiments, the results have been subjected to statistical treatment, including the statistical test of the 'analysis of variance'. Chapter Seven is the final chapter in this thesis. It begins with the conclusions one can derive from this study and ends with our suggestions for further investigations. The major conclusions that can be drawn from this study are the following: 1. duration is the overriding factor in distinguishing a geminate from a single consonant both perceptually and productively; 2. there is little or no evidence for 'rearticulation' in the production of geminate consonants; and 3. no compensatory adjustment in vowel duration was observed in vowels preceding the two types ofconsonant in word-medial position.