On the Bimoraicity of Tunisian Arabic Open Monosyllables: A Moraic Optimality-Theoretic Approach

Mounir Jouini


The paper aims to analyze Tunisian Arabic (TA) open monosyllables in terms of moras within the constraint-based framework of Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky, 1993/2004). It focuses on two major types of TA syllables, namely CV and CCV, whose surface shapes represent a challenge to an analysis that desires to satisfy the universally unmarked binary foot. In fact, if analyzed as monomoraic, these vowel-ending forms would violate the minimum weight required by minimal words which is two moras. Previous studies of Arabic dialects have generally opted for an analysis that affiliates the initial consonant/s with an additional mora alongside the inherent vocalic head mora, so as to satisfy the minimality condition. Another alternative, one which will be argued for in this paper, recognizes a certain bimoraic nature of final vowels, the second mora of which surfaces only under certain conditions.



moras, minimal words, syllable, binarity, Optimality Theory.

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