13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Portland, OR, USA
September 9-13, 2012

Emphatic Segments and Emphasis Spread in Lebanese Arabic: a Real-time Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

Assaf Israel (1), Michael Proctor (1,2), Louis Goldstein (1), Khalil Iskarous (1), Shrikanth Narayanan (1,2)

(1) Department of Linguistics, University of Southern California, USA
(2) Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California, USA

Production of emphatic consonants by a speaker of Lebanese Arabic was examined using real-time magnetic resonance imaging (rtMRI). Emphatic consonants were found to be articulated with a more depressed and retracted tongue body than their non-empatic counterparts, with the narrowest emphatic constriction observed in the upper pharynx. Both progressive and regressive emphasis spread was observed, and was not blocked by a high palatal segment ([y]). Emphaticized segments exhibit similar retraction and depression with magnitudes that vary according to the direction of spreading. These data suggest that emphasis spread may operate in a phonetically-complex way not accounted for by phonological theory, and in addition illustrate the advantage of real-time MRI as a method for studying emphasis in Semitic phonology.

Index Terms: speech production, Arabic, emphatic, emphasis spread, pharyngealization, real-time MRI

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Bibliographic reference.  Israel, Assaf / Proctor, Michael / Goldstein, Louis / Iskarous, Khalil / Narayanan, Shrikanth (2012): "Emphatic segments and emphasis spread in Lebanese Arabic: a real-time magnetic resonance imaging study", In INTERSPEECH-2012, 2178-2181.