Glottal stop variation in Standard Arabic: OT-based optionality analysis

Mohammed J. Al-Ariqy


This paper analyzes optional glottal stop deletion in Standard Arabic (SA). This deletion is typically accompanied by lengthening or gliding of an adjacent, usually preceding, vowel. It can also be accompanied by gemination either intervocalically or in a word-final position. Word-final glottal stops can also delete when preceded by long vowels and this deletion is accompanied by shortening of such long vowels when gemination is blocked. Deletion is blocked when neither lengthening/gliding nor gemination is possible. This paper assesses the ability of various OT-based theories of optionality to account for glottal stop deletion, arguing that the rank-ordering model of EVAL (ROE) by Coetzee (2006) provides a better account than alternatives such as the Partially Ordered grammars (PO) by Anttila (1997, 2007) and Serial Variation (SV) by Kimper (2011).


glottal stop deletion; gliding; lengthening; gemination; optionality; rank-ordering model of EVAL; partial order model; serial variation model

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