Temporal Coordination and Sonority of Jazani Arabic Word-Initial Clusters


  • Mohammed Q. Ruthan Michigan State University
  • Karthik Durvasula Michigan State University
  • Yen-Hwei Lin Michigan State University




Temporal, Pattern, Coordination, Sonority, Arabic, Clusters, Acoustic, Measurements


Previous research on the organization of syllable-structure, relying on the timing of the articulators suggests that though both English and Moroccan Arabic have word-initial consonant clusters, Moroccan Arabic does not have complex onsets, while English does (Browman and Goldstein, 1988; Byrd, 1995; Shaw et al., 2011). However, typically, such research employs expensive articulatory equipment. This limits the research to those who have access to such technology. Here, we advocate the use of the acoustic measurements with carefully selected stimuli. We conducted an experiment on 7 native speakers of Jazani Arabic, who produced 6 repetitions of 78 target words (34 real, 44 nonce), which varied in the number of onset consonant (C1, C2), and the sonority profiles. Similarly, to Moroccan Arabic, the results show that onset consonant alignments in Jazani Arabic are consistent with the simplex onset organization. Unlike Italian, the temporal pattern of Jazani Arabic remained the same, as simplex onsets across the sonority profiles. The study shows the effectiveness of acoustic measurements as a tool to understand syllabic organization, through studying the temporal co-ordination patterns.