Nominal French Loanwords’ Initial Gemination in Kenitra’s Dialect: An Optimality-Theoretic Analysis

Initial geminates, Moroccan Arabic, Constraints, French loans, Adaptation, Optimality Theory


  • Said Rafi
    Doctoral student, Faculty of Languages, Letters, and Arts, English department, Ibn Tofail University, Kenitra, Morocco.
September 9, 2022


This paper investigates French nominal loanwords’ initial gemination in Kenitra’s dialect in Moroccan Arabic within the framework of optimality theory. It studies the initial geminates that surface in borrowed nominal words from French into Kenitra’s dialect as well as looks into why the source words do not have geminate segments. The focus is to unfold the reason behind the emergence of geminate consonants when they are adapted into Kenitra’s dialect from French nominal words. Under the purview of optimality theory, we introduce and discuss the interaction between constraints in this dialect and how they conflict to allow the harmonic candidate to surface. The significance of this research is to provide evidence that initial geminates are inherently moraic in MA, especially Kenitra’s dialect.