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


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