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The Application of English Theories to Sorani Phonology

AHMED, ZHWAN,OTHMAN (2019) The Application of English Theories to Sorani Phonology. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis investigates phonological processes in Sorani Kurdish within the framework of Element Theory. It studies two main varieties of Sorani spoken in Iraq which are Slemani and Hawler.
Since the phonology of SK is one of the least studied areas in Kurdish linguistics and the available studies provide different accounts of its segments, I start by introducing the segmental system of the SK dialect group. I present a list of consonants and vowels and discuss the variation between Hawler and Slemani. I then present an Element Theory analysis of the segmental system of SK which reflects the phonological behaviour of each segment and how it patterns with other sounds. For example, š and ž are post-alveolar articulatorily while they behave like palatals in phonological processes and hence have a headed |I| element.
I then study processes of place assimilation in SK. The process of palatalization is one area that sets Hawler and Slemani varieties apart. In SK, velar stops, k g, are palatalized before front vocoids. However, in Hawler, the output of velar palatalization is an affricate consonant while in Slemani, palatalization is secondary and adds a secondary articulation to the velar stops. Similarly, both varieties have a set of emphatic consonants which have caused considerable debate in the literature as there is no agreement on their distribution in SK. In this study, I present the first detailed account of the emphatic consonants in SK and argue that their triggers differ between Slemani and Hawler and I also argue that they differ phonologically from emphatics in Arabic. Another place assimilation process that is discussed briefly is nasal place assimilation.
Other processes discussed in the thesis relate to laryngeal contrasts in SK. The data show that word-initial obstruents have a typologically uncommon laryngeal contrast that utilizes the extreme points on the VOT continuum. That is, SK has a pre-voiced set of obstruents that contrasts with an aspirated set in word-initial position. In word-final position, however, the pre-voiced set is devoiced, and the contrast is between an aspirated set and a neutral set. I also discuss the process of voicing assimilation that occurs in both Hawler and Slemani.
The study also accounts for such processes as metathesis and deletion and presents data to show variations between Hawler and Slemani. The study ends with an evaluation of the main findings and asserts the importance of this thesis and how it can be used as a basis for future work.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Oct 2019 11:27

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