Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

E-mail this page

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Dissertation Information

Title: The Phonetics and Phonology of Gutturals in Arabic Add Dissertation
Author: Bushra Zawaydeh Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Indiana University Bloomington
Completed in: 1999
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonetics; Phonology;
Subject Language(s): Arabic, Standard
Director(s): Stuart Davis
Kenneth de Jong

Abstract: This dissertation investigates two issues that deal with the physical attributes of a class of speech sounds made with a constriction in the back part of the vocal tract, called the gutturals (they include the uvulars, uvularized, pharyngeal, and laryngeal sounds). The first issue revolves around why gutturals comprise a natural class despite their apparent articulatory dissimilarities. To answer this question, an articulatory (endoscopic) experiment and an acoustic experiment were conducted. The endoscopic experiment indicated that there is a constriction in the pharynx during the articulation of all the sounds except the laryngeals. This commonality explains grouping in the Salish languages of the Pacific Northwest, where all the gutturals but not the laryngeals pattern as a natural class. The acoustic experiment indicated a consistent acoustic effect on the lowest vocal tract resonance when the preceding consonant is a guttural. Hence, it seems that Arabic uses an acoustic feature [high F1] for grouping gutturals together. The second issue investigated in this dissertation deals with the spreading of uvularization from a subgroup of the gutturals: the uvular and uvularized segments. Contrary to what has been previously assumed, the spreading of uvularization is a phonetic process, not a phonological one. This is because no high segments block leftward or rightward spreading, the spreading is gradient in the rightward direction, and the strength of spreading is systematically affected by numerous phonetic factors. Both experiments highlight how important auditory features are in the phonology and phonetics of Arabic, and emphasize the importance of conducting phonetic fieldwork to test phonological phenomena. Hence, this dissertation highlights the importance of the integration of phonetics and phonology.