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Title: Emphatic assimilation in classical and modern stardart Arabic: An experimetal approach to Qur'anic recitation
Author: Habis, Ayman Abdullah Hamid
ISNI:       0000 0001 3523 3590
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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This study deals with the phonetic and phonological performance of expert reciters of the Quran. Experts constitute a special group of speakers who receive intensive oral instruction in tajwid, the traditional discipline of correct and ideal recitation of Classical Arabic. The study falls into five chapters and a conclusion. The first chapter gives a general idea about the history of Arabic and tajwid and outlines the basic principles that underlie the standardization of recitations. The second chapter discusses some basic rules of tajwid and explores their scope. It sheds some light on the relation between tajwid and current phonological theory and physiological phonetics. The third chapter reviews the literature, both traditional and modem, on emphasis in Arabic. The review discusses the articulatory, acoustic and perceptual properties of emphasis in a variety of Arabic styles, and discusses the phonology and phonetics of emphatic coarticulation and the implications it could have for the linguistic grammar of Arabic, including implications for autosegmental theory. The fourth chapter reports the results of an acoustic experiment. We consider the measurement values of the second formant of the vowel /a/, which both tajwid scholars and modem phoneticians claim it exhibits a greater amount of emphasis than other vowels. The phonetic environments examined are both emphatic and plain. The experiment manipulates three main dimensions: (i) expert vs. non-expert reciters, (ii) Classical vs. Modem Standard Arabic, and (iii) four vowel contexts: plain-to-plain, emphatic-to-emphatic,emphatic-to-plain and plain-to-emphatic. One main finding is that emphasis is a unary and gradient feature that has a range over which it can be phonetically realized. We suggest that plainness is apparently a zero or default value that is shared by all speakers and styles. Another finding is that the traditional distinction between experts and non-experts could be objectively verified from their acoustic data. The fifth chapter explores the implications of the experiment for current theories of the phonology-phonetics interface. Emphatic assimilation is discussed within the framework of theories of phonetic underspecification, coarticulation resistance and hyperarticulation. We attempt to find out whether the vowel in an emphatic environment is categorically specified for emphasis or it is rather left underspecified for this feature. Although some of the acoustic measurements conform with a phonetic reading of emphasis on the vowel some others could be taken to imply that emphasis in Classical Arabic does not involve a case of phonetic underspecification. Finally, the conclusion summaries the main findings of the thesis in the light of the experimental study, the literature review and the phonological theories that were considered in the discussion, and it makes recommendations for future studies
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available