Shaw, Jason A.; Gafos, Adamantios I.; Hoole, Philip; Zeroual, Chakir
Dynamic invariance in the phonetic expression of syllable structure: a case study of Moroccan Arabic consonant clusters.
In: Phonology, Vol. 28, No. 3: pp. 455-490
We asked whether invariant phonetic indices for syllable structure can be identified in a language where word-initial consonant clusters, regardless of their sonority profile, are claimed to be parsed heterosyllabically. Four speakers of Moroccan Arabic were recorded, using Electromagnetic Articulography. Pursuing previous work, we employed temporal diagnostics for syllable structure, consisting of static correspondences between any given phonological organisation and its presumed phonetic indices. We show that such correspondences offer only a partial understanding of the relation between syllabic organisation and continuous indices of that organisation. We analyse the failure of the diagnostics and put forth a new approach in which different phonological organisations prescribe different ways in which phonetic indices change as phonetic parameters are scaled. The main finding is that invariance is found in these patterns of change, rather than in static correspondences between phonological constructs and fixed values for their phonetic indices.