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Consonants and Vowels in Ahwazian( Khuzestani) Arabic and English: A comparative study

Consonants and Vowels in Ahwazian( Khuzestani) Arabic and English: A comparative study

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Published by saeedk27
by: Saeed Khojaste Nam
IUST
by: Saeed Khojaste Nam
IUST

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Published by: saeedk27 on Jul 30, 2011
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11/06/2012

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Consonants and Vowels in Ahwazian( Khuzestani) Arabic and English:A comparative studyBy:Saeed Khojaste NamIran University of Science and TechnologySaeedsoha@yahoo.com2011AbstractA great many theoretical and practical contrastive studies have been carried out on different levels of language by teachers, linguists and psycholinguists in the field of Contrastive Analysis. Mainly there are three levels which are made use of in CA studies: 1) phonology 2) grammar 3) lexis. From these threeareas the area of phonology and specifically the sound systems of English and Khuzestani Arabic are compared and contrasted in this study. Practically this study juxtaposed the consonants and vowels of English and Khuzestani Arabic and provided examples from both languages to draw out the similarities and difference.Keywords: contrastive analysis; consonants; vowels; similarities, differencesIntroduction With regard to the roots, Arabic is the Semitic language of the Arabs, written from right to left in a cursive script. It is the mother tongue of about300 million people. Arabic is the descendant of the language of Quran, the sacred book of Islamic religion. Arabs have their culture and identity and their language which is spoken in numerous dialects throughout much of the Middle East andparts of North Africa. It is a branch of Afro-Asiatic family of languages including Hebrew, Aramaic and certain ancient languages such as Phoenician. The Arabic language has a standard pronunciation, which is basically the one used to recite the Quran. Meliani & Kopczynski (1993) in their paper noted that MSA is the variety that has evolved from Classical Arabic and is used throughout the Arab world from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf by educated Arabs not only in religious rites but also in science, education, and mass media. Away from the standard Arabic there are a lot of varieties.Shah (2007) in an article states that there are over 30 diverse varieties of colloquial Arabic which include:1) Egyptian – spoken by 46 million people in Egypt and perhaps the most widely understood variety, due to the popularity of Egyptian-made films and TV shows.2) Algerian – spoken by about 22 million people in Algeria.3) Moroccan/Maghrebi – spoken in Morocco by 19.5 million people.4) Sudenese - spoken in Sudan by 19 million people.5) Saidi spoken by 19 million people in Egypt.
 
6) Leventine – spoken in Lebannon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Syria by 15million people.7) Mesoptamin – spoken by 14 million people in Irag, Iran and Syria.8)Najdi – spoken in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordon, and Syria by 10 million people.Khuzestan is a province located in the southwest in Iran. There are about five million people in this province speaking in a variety of Arabic named KhuzestaniArabic. This variety can be included in the Najdi variety since it is so closerto the Iraqi accent. Iranian Arab communities are also found in Bahrain, Kuwait,Iraq, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Frye (2007) says that Most Iranian Arabs in Khuzestan Province are bilingual, speaking Arabic as their mother tongue, and Persian as a second language. The variety of Arabic spoken in the provinceis Khuzestani Arabic, which is a Mesopotamian dialect shared by Arabs across the border in Iraq. Of course it has substantial Persian influence and may be harder to understand by other Arabic-speakers around the world.English is the language of England, America and Australia, written from left toright not in a cursive script, now used in many varieties throughout the world.It is known as the Germanic language of England. Considering its family, Englishis a branch of the Indo-European language family that includes German, Dutch, and Scandinavian. Historically English originated from several dialects, now called old English which were brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century. Unlike Arabic, English is taught as a foreign or second languagein many countries all around the world; it is an international language or the commonest language used for international business, trade, travel, communication,etc.Only a relative handful studies have specifically compared the sounds inArabic and English. Therefore the scarcity of information in this area persuaded the researcher to shed the lights on the nature of consonants and vowels in both Khuzestani Arabic and English, eliciting similarities and differences. With regard to the speech sounds, Consonants are speech sounds in which the breath isat least partly obstructed and which can be combined with a vowel to form a syllable. Fromkin (2003) says that the feature [consonantal] is present whenever some part of the vocal tract moves significantly away from the pre -speech positionand forms an obstruction to the air stream in the oral cavity. Vowels are speech sounds which are produced by comparatively open configuration of the vocal tract and which capable of forming a syllable. "The feature [vocalic] pertains to the position of the vocal cords and the passage of the air stream through the oral cavity" (Fromkin, 2003). These two salient features can be found in mostly alllanguages all around the world including Khuzestani Arabic and English. There are some similarities and differences in uttering these consonants and vowels inEnglish and Khuzestani Arabic; so the researcher decided to elaborate on the similarities and differences by representing the sounds of both languages and giving the readers examples of the speech sounds produced by Khuzestani Native speakers and English-Native speakers.Comparative studies in linguistics have a long history. Teachers, linguists andpsycholinguists have always been interested in errors produced by second language learners, either in their speech or writing or both. They worked on the sources of the errors whether they are based on similarities or differences between the mother language and the target language. "There have been two major approachesto study learners' errors, namely Contrastive Analysis and Error Analysis" (Keshavarz, 2007). Brown (2000) reported that in fact Contrastive Analysis was considered as the last panacea for language teaching problems. Meanwhile a series ofcontrastive studies began to appear. As a matter of fact there are many studiesthat investigate the variations in Arabic dialects as well as making differentcomparisons either between Arabic dialects or between Arabic and other languages. In a study, Al-sawad (1983) in a study contrasts modern standard Arabic andEnglish tense, aspect, and the structure of these two languages based on the grammatical features. In fact, he checks the similarities and differences in both l
 
anguages. Brustad (1991) works on a number of these Arabic dialects: Moroccan, Egyptian, Syrian and Kuwaiti. The focus of her study was on certain syntactic features that differ from one dialect to another. After comparing and contrasting these dialects she found that although minor differences have been emerged, the syntactic structure of these four Arabic dialects is similar. In a study Dahir (1998) focuses on the linguistic variation in the Syrian speech community. He sheds the lights on the dissimilarity in men
’s and women’s use of standard and colloquial variants of three phonological variables, /q/, /
θ/, /ð/ and /aw/ /ay/. He concludes that both standard Arabic and Syrian Arabic function as speech norms. He addsthat the variation in θ/ð and aw/ay is not different in men and women; whereas, thevariable /
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/ is socially marked in the sense that men tend to use it in its standard value while women mostly change it into /? /. The present study juxtaposesthe two sound systems of Khuzestani Arabic and English and works on them. However, the writer tried to provide more information on the Kuzestani Arabic systembecause it is assumed that a lot of our readers will be less familiar with thisspecial Arabic dialect than English.This study attempted to contribute to the knowledge base by:A) Comparing the two vocalic systems, English and Khuzestani Arabic and comparethe results using examples.B) Creating a situation in which practicing teachers and learners could evaluatethe theoretical and practical aspects of contrastive analysis.Rationale: Generally the study presents a picture which shows us what Contrastive Analysis is and how it is done in the area of phonology.ContrastIt is worth noting that this study is pedagogical and aimed at predicting and solving learners' problems. Here we discuss the two sound systems of Arabic and English and then compare the results.VowelsArabic has far fewer vowels and diphthongs than English and articulation is morestressed than English. There is also the use of glottal stops before initial vowels.Let
’s work on these vowels and draw out the similarities and differences in bothlanguages.General comparison:Unlike English there are two types of vowels in Arabic; 1) short vowels 2) longvowels1) Short vowels also known as
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Harakat
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/a/
/ i /
/u/ which aremerely oral, and used only in teaching texts for guiding the learner2) Long vowels /
α: / / i:/ / ū / which their function isto slightly lengthen the short vowelsThe t
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short vowel u (like the "u" in "but").

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