Acoustic analysis of the Syrian vowel system

Rana Almbark, Sam Hellmuth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper describes the vowel system of Damascus Arabic in Syria, from now onwards referred to as Syrian Arabic (SA). We examine the acoustic correlates of SA short/long vowel contrasts, and investigate the status of mid vowels in SA. The goal is to expand on the auditory description of the SA vowel system performed by Cowell [8]. The full set of vowel categories proposed by Cowell were produced in a neutral /hVd/ context by fifteen SA speakers. Quantitative analysis of vowel duration and formant measurements confirms that the vowel system of Syrian Arabic includes the main /i(?)/, /a(?)/, and /u(?)/ short/long vowel contrasts and supports the phonemic status of mid-long vowels /e?/ and /o?/. However, the phonemic status of the mid short vowels [e] and [o] and of schwa was not supported and they are analysed as allophonic variants of their high counterparts /i/ and /u/, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ICPhS 2015
EditorsMaria Wolters, Judy Livingstone, Bernie Beattie, Rachel Smith, Mike MacMahon, Jane Stuart-Smith, Jim Scobbie
PublisherUniversity of Glasgow
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015
Event18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences - Scottish Event Campus, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Aug 201514 Aug 2015
Conference number: 18 (Link to Conference Details)


Conference18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences
Abbreviated titleICPhS 2015
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Acoustic analysis of the Syrian vowel system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this