Sonority Principle in French Nominal Loanwords into Moroccan Arabic: An Optimality-theoretic Analysis

https://doi.org/10.32996/ijllt.2020.3.10.7

Authors

  • Ahmed Smirkou Assistant professor at Ibn Zohr University, Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Morocco

Keywords:

French loans, Moroccan Arabic, sonority principle, phonological repair strategies, optimality theory

Abstract

This paper examines the adaptation of French nominal loans into Moroccan Arabic by adopting the framework of optimality theory. The focus is to unveil the phonological and morphological repair strategies enforced by the phonotactic constraints of the borrowing language to resolve sonority principle in complex codas. The investigated phonological strategy is schwa and a high vowel epenthesis. Schwa epenthesis is triggered to split final biconsonantal codas that violate sonority principle. In three consonantal coda clusters, schwa insertion is conditioned by the sonority value of the consonants, where it is consistently epenthesized before the most sonorous segment. A high vowel behaves differently; it is epenthesized in the final position without splitting the coda cluster, and enforces the cluster to be syllabified as an onset instead of a coda, and as such sonority principle is satisfied. It is also argued that the addition of the morphological marker {-a}, which is primarily morphologically driven, indirectly satisfies sonority principle; by doing so, it blocks the application of schwa or a high vowel epenthesis, which points to the fact that such phonological and morphological strategies conspire to satisfy sonority principle. The study also provides further support for the phonological stance on loanword adaptation.

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Published

2020-10-30

How to Cite

Smirkou, A. . (2020). Sonority Principle in French Nominal Loanwords into Moroccan Arabic: An Optimality-theoretic Analysis . International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 3(10), 54-68. https://doi.org/10.32996/ijllt.2020.3.10.7