Arabic ȷ̌ and the class of Sun Letters

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This article examines the interaction between Arabic definite article assimilation to coronals and the realization of ȷ� across dialects. Three contrasting grammatical patterns were identified: (1) ȷ� does not trigger assimilation, (2) coronal ȷ� triggers assimilation, and (3) velar g < ȷ� optionally triggers assimilation. Historical evidence indicates that velar, palatal, and prepalatal variants of ȷ� have coexisted since Old Arabic, while (3) arose from (2) in urban Egyptian Arabic from late generalization of the velar variant. I further propose that an underlyingly palatal, rather than velar, variant underlies the peninsular Arabian dialects with pattern (1), and that pattern (2) emerged in Old Arabic from phonological reanalysis of fronted ȷ� as coronal.


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