Geminate representation in Arabic

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Arabic dialects are characterized by the occurrence of geminate consonants in word-medial and word-final position. This article relates the patterning of Arabic geminates to the on-going controversy in phonological theory concerning the representation of geminate consonants. Two views are contrasted: the prosodic length analysis of geminates whereby a geminate is underlyingly a single consonant phoneme linked to two C-slots, and the moraic weight representation where a geminate is underlyingly a single consonant linked to a mora. We specifically argue that the patterning of geminate consonants in Arabic dialects largely supports the moraic weight representation. Evidence comes from phenomena such as the patterning of word-final geminates, the behavior of geminates with respect to stress, geminates in loanwords, and geminates in first language acquisition. We show that each of these phenomena supports the moraic weight representation of geminates.


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