Stress assignment in Makkan Arabic

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This paper examines stress assignment in Makkan Arabic. It investigates the different transparent stress patterns, morphologically conditioned stress, and opaque stress patterns. Various phonological processes in Makkan operate at different levels – lexical and post-lexical. Stress assignment is a cyclic process that takes place only at the lexical level. However, it gets assigned twice: once at the stem level, and another time at the word level. Makkan observes a 3-syllable window when stress is assigned. Heavy syllables attract stress, with end rule right. Makkan also exhibits some cases of opaque stress, where stress appears in unexpected positions. Opacity of stress is evident at the phrasal level after the application of postlexical level phonological processes such as syncope and initial epenthesis. Morphologically conditioned stress is also evident in Makkan where the feminine subject marker /-at/ ‘she’ is lexically stressed. The assumption of different strata is particularly important in accounting for both syncope and initial epenthesis where stress assignment precedes both of these processes. The paper lends evidence to the superiority of a stratal-ot analysis to that of parallel-ot in Makkan Arabic stress assignment.


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