International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Noun Diminutive Formation in Algerian Arabic as Used in Jijel: An Optimality Analysis
Samia Azieb, Prof. Radwan S. Mahadin

This study seeks to unravel the patterns governing noun diminutive formation in Jijilian Spoken Arabic (JSA), a dialect of Algerian Arabic, and accounting for that within an Optimality Theory framework. A thorough analysis of the data at the researchers' disposal revealed that diminutivization in JSA is based on the patterns /CCi:jVC/ (masculine nouns) and /CCi:CV/ (feminine nouns) for tri-consonantal noun stems that surface with only two consonants, /CCi: CV/, /CCi:CVC/, and /CCi:jVC/ for tri-consonantal noun stems that surface with three consonants, and /CCi:CVC/ (masculine nouns), /CCi:CCV/ (feminine nouns) for quadri-consonantal noun stems. The emergence of these patterns is a result of applying some phonological processes namely vowel syncope, vowel epenthesis, vowel shortening, glide insertion, degemination and metathesis which tend to differ depending on the pattern being considered. The application of OT so as to account for the phonological processes involved in the linguistic phenomenon of noun diminution in JSA indicated that they emanate from a constant conflict between some markedness constraints and faithfulness constraints.

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