Date of Award

12-1-2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Carstens, Vicki

Abstract

This study investigated the lenition of the segment /dʒ/ to [j] in Rijal Alhajir dialect of Arabic in different initial, medial, and final phonological environments. A sample of 20 Rijal Alhajir Arabic speakers (10 male and 10 female) was divided into two groups based on the social factor of age: 20-25 (the younger group) and 45-above (the older group). All participants were interviewed individually by the researcher to record the production of the target sound. Forty-eight Classical Arabic words containing the segment /dʒ/ were selected for this investigation. Forty-one words were elicited by showing the participants pictures, and seven words were elicited through casual conversation due to their representing abstract concepts. The results showed the process of lenition in Rijal Alhajir dialect to occur in all phonological environments of interest, except when the target sound occurred in word-final position and was preceded by high long vowels [i:] and [u:]. The results revealed that age was indeed a factor influencing the presence of lenition. The participants from the older group had a significantly higher percentage of lenition in their speech compared to the younger group.

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