Tuesday, July 12, 2005

those chick dialects...

just as an afterthought, i thought i'd mention that watson (see previous post) makes this observation about women's speech in Cairene Arabic:

Among certain speakers of Cairene (particularly women), degrees of palatalization are attested in all four dental plosives and the dental nasal /n/ in the environment of palatal vocoids (Haeri 1997).
the four dental plosives in question are the plain stops /t/ /d/ and the 'emphatic' stops /6/, /'9/ (ie. 't with a dot underneath, d with a dot underneath'). in cairene, archaic arabic interdentals and dentals fell together, so the "four dental stops" of cairene correspond to seven separate phonemes of archaic arabic.

unfortunately, i'll have to blog her observations on speech registers and gender variation as i run into them - she doesn't include them in her index, so there might not be much else.

FYI, other characteristic phonetic oddities of cairene (and lower egyptian in general) include:

  • the pronunciation of archaic arabic [j] as /g/ and [q] as /2/ (glottal stop)
  • the replacement of archaic arabic [2] with a liquid or, preconsonantally, loss with simple lengthening of the vowel (ie. [ra2s-] > cairene [râs] "head"
  • the monophthonisation of [ay] and [aw] to [e, ê] and [o, ô]
  • /r/ /m/ and /b/ distinguished from their pharyngealised equivalents
  • "uvular fricatives [7 or h with dot underneath and gh] are... phonetically and phonologically better described as velar... or post-velar."

i know, you have no idea what i'm talking about. *sigh* time to take out my book on gender in language and reread the essay on the arabics.

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