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Speech Characteristics of Arabic Speakers: Dialect Variations

Alshahwan, Majid (2015) Speech Characteristics of Arabic Speakers: Dialect Variations. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Arabic is spoken by more than 280 million people around the world and has been subject to attention in a number of acoustic phonetic studies. However, there are a limited number of studies on Gulf Arabic dialects and the majority of these studies have focused mainly on male speakers. Therefore, this study aimed to explore two Gulf Arabic dialects, the central Najdi dialect from Saudi Arabia and the Bahraini Bahraini dialect from Bahrain. It aimed to establish normative data for the Diadochokinetic Rate (DDK), Voice Onset Time (VOT), Fundamental Frequency (F0) and Formant Frequencies (F1-F3) for male (n = 40) and female (n = 40) speakers from both dialects. Furthermore, it aimed to investigate whether there are differences between the two dialects. Another direction of the research was to examine whether differences between male and female speech will be evident in both dialects. The study was accomplished using different stimuli where the monosyllables /ba, da, ga/ and a multisyllabic sequence /badaga/ were selected to analyse the DDK rates. VOT duration was examined in monosyllablic minimal pair words containing the initial voiced stops /b, d/ and the three long vowels /a:, i:, u:/, and in words containing the initial voiceless stops /t, k/, initial voiced/voiceless stops /d, t/ and plain/emphatic alveolar stops /t, t*/ and the two long vowels /i:, u:/. F0 was examined in the sustained phonation of the /a, i, u/, vowels in the words presented earlier and in sentences from the Arabic version of “The North Wind and the Sun” (Thelwall & Sa’Adeddin, 1990) and two verses from the first chapter of the Quran. F1, F2 and F3 values were examined in the sustained phonation of individual vowels and in vowels in the words described earlier. Acoustic analysis was carried out by using Praat (Boersma & Weenink, 2013). A series of mixed model ANOVAs were performed to investigate dialect and sex differences for each of the parameters. Dialect and sex were the main independent variables; however, additional variables were assessed (syllable type, voicing, vowel context, place of articulation and emphasis). The first aim has been met, with normative data being established for males and females from both dialects. The results showed that for each of the parameters (DDK, VOT, F0 and formant frequencies), the dialect differences as well as the degree of differences were dependent on the stimuli type. Furthermore, sex differences were apparent for F0, F1, F2 and F3 where males had lower frequencies than females in all tasks. In addition, the results showed that females had longer VOT durations than males for voiceless stops; and in the initial emphatic /t≥/ context; males had longer VOT duration than females. However, there were no differences between male and female speakers with regard to the DDK rates, and in the VOT analysis, initial voiced stops did not show an effect for dialect and sex. Furthermore, the impact of other variables other than dialect and sex are discussed. In conclusion, dialect, and to a lesser extent, sex differences in the Arabic dialects under study, are dependent on the stimulus type. The study also showed that emphatic /t*/ might help in differentiating between different Arabic dialects.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Human Communication Sciences (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > Human Communication Sciences (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.687229
Depositing User: Mr Majid Alshahwan
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2016 15:19
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2020 10:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13296

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