Consonant-vowel Interactions Inform Paradigm Organization in Egyptian Arabic


  • Lily Xu University of California, Los Angeles



morphophonology, lexicon study, probabilistic phonology, Semitic morphology, Egyptian Arabic, paradigm


This paper presents a quantitative study on vowel alternation in Egyptian Arabic verbs. Specifically, the vowels in perfective verb forms (of the prosodic shape CVCVC) and imperfective verb forms (-CCVC) are hard to predict from each other. This study investigates how probabilistic phonological generalizations involving the root consonants and vowel correspondences help predict the idiosyncratic vowel choice by collecting lexicon statistics and fitting regression models. Following the line of works which has shown that speakers have the ability to internalize statistical patterns into their phonological grammars (e.g., Zuraw 2000, Ernestus & Baayen 2003), the models were used as a means to investigate organization of the perfective-imperfective paradigm. Moreover, by showing that consonant and vowel information play distinct roles in paradigm predictability, this study provides evidence for lexical representations that separate consonants and vowels in Semitic languages (e.g., McCarthy 1979).