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  • 1 Department of English Language and Literature College of Arts, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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Abstract

This paper sheds light on the treatment of initial gemination in Qassimi Arabic (QA), a Najdi dialect spoken in the Al-Qassim region in central Saudi Arabia, within the framework of Parallelism, an Optimality Theory (OT) model. The study concludes that initial geminates, which are non-actual surface forms in QA, result from the assimilation of the prefix /t-/ to stem-initial consonants of Arabic verb forms II and III, as well as hollow verbs, to avoid violation of the Obligatory Contour Principle (OCP). On the other hand, initial semisyllables, as moraic consonants, originate from initial gemination and consequently motivate prosthesis; that is, the purpose of prosthesis is to affiliate a semisyllable to the syllable node without causing violation of the Strict Layer Hypothesis (SLH). Sequences of assimilation of prefix /t-/ plus prosthesis do not occur simultaneously, whereas regressive assimilation feeds the prosthetic vowel [i], which, in turn, feeds the prosthetic glottal stop [ʔ] to concur with the Onset Principle. These sequences thus indicate transparent rule interactions, that is, feeding. Parallel OT is then successfully utilized to account for this type of phonological derivation.

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