Arabic Intonation

Dina El Zarka

Published online February 2017 | | DOI:

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  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Linguistic Typology


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This overview of intonation in Arabic compares the intonational systems of selected Arabic dialects from Morocco in the West to Kuwait in the East. The formal comparison will mainly be carried out within the framework of autosegmental-metrical (AM) theory, taking the phonetic micro-prosody of the identified pitch accents as a tertium comparationis. Furthermore, the intonation systems will be compared with respect to prosodic phrasing. The second part of the overview is devoted to the functions of intonation in Arabic. In this section, the comparison will be based on a wider range of descriptions, including work carried out within other theoretical frameworks. The section will identify the role of metrical and tonal structures and the way they interact with syntax, information structure, and sentence mode in different varieties of Arabic. The concluding section will provide a preliminary typological picture of Arabic prosody with respect to the macro-rhythmic properties of Arabic.

Keywords: Arabic intonation; intonation; Arabic varieties; prosody; macro-rhythm; autosegmental-metrical theory

Article.  13100 words. 

Subjects: Phonetics and Phonology ; Linguistic Typology

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