ISCA Archive TAI 2021
ISCA Archive TAI 2021

The prosodic realisation of focus in Saudi Arabic dialects in comparative perspective

Aljawharah Alzamil, Sam Hellmuth

Production data from speakers of three varieties of Saudi Arabic (Najdi/Hijazi/Jizani), in two age groups, are used to explore whether generalizations about prosodic focus marking in Urban Hijazi Arabic reported by Alzaidi et al. [1] are i) shared with other Saudi dialects, ii) stable across generations of speakers, and iii) maintained in the context of other focus strategies. Data was elicited using a question-and-answer reading task (cf. [1]) but also a picture description task which gives speakers freedom to express focus by all grammatical means available. In both paradigms, parallel target words were presented in different contexts to elicit broad focus versus two types of narrow focus. Quantitative analysis of acoustic properties in the stressed syllable of target words across conditions is reported, alongside visualization of the F0 contour and qualitative analysis of alternative focus marking strategies. Results show some differences between dialects in the type and degree of acoustic cues observed in on-focus positions. Off-focus cues, in both pre-focus and post-focus positions, are similar across dialects. All three dialects display alternative focus marking strategies, with indications of a potential trade-off between non-prosodic strategies versus on-focus prosodic marking.


doi: 10.21437/TAI.2021-40

Cite as: Alzamil, A., Hellmuth, S. (2021) The prosodic realisation of focus in Saudi Arabic dialects in comparative perspective. Proc. 1st International Conference on Tone and Intonation (TAI), 195-199, doi: 10.21437/TAI.2021-40

@inproceedings{alzamil21_tai,
  author={Aljawharah Alzamil and Sam Hellmuth},
  title={{The prosodic realisation of focus in Saudi Arabic dialects in comparative perspective}},
  year=2021,
  booktitle={Proc. 1st International Conference on Tone and Intonation (TAI)},
  pages={195--199},
  doi={10.21437/TAI.2021-40}
}