Palatalization in Cairene Arabic: from phonetics to phonology
Two types of coronal palatalization are distinguished in Cairene Arabic: secondary palatalization and affrication. The current study provides a detailed account of these two processes, followed by an analysis in autosegmental phonology and Optimality Theory. The study is important in four respects: (1) it fills a descriptive gap in the segmental phonology of CA concerning a recent sound change; (2) it provides insights toward a better understanding of what constitutes language-specific natural classes of segments; (3) it sheds light on some interesting correlations that palatalization has to other assimilations in the language, thus giving a more comprehensive picture of the structure of the whole inventory; and (4) it provides a neat example of a sound change in progress, showing how a phonological process develops from a phonetic coarticulation effect. The talk will touch upon issues from formal, socio- and historical linguistics.