ABSTRACT The study investigates and describes the phonological behaviors of Arabic loanwords in Malay, particularly the phenomena that involve phonological changes. The data used in this study are secondary in nature as they were collected from a computerized corpus of DBP-UKM consisting of five million words. Generated using Oxford WordSmith Tools, the data were later clustered according to the phonological behaviors. The behaviors were analyzed through an approach which is based on the constraints advocated in the framework of Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993). The Arabic loanwords were found to undergo phonological changes so as to submit to the Malay phonological system especially those related to the syllable structure constraints. The Malay language denies the insertion of consonant cluster regardless of the positions – onset or coda, geminate consonant, long vowels and monosyllabic word. In order to ensure the constraints are not violated, phonological changes have to be performed including vowel harmony, degemination, vowel shortening, and deletion of syllable. Taking the analysis of Optimality Theory into account, these changes were made to submit to the dominant constraints in the Malay grammar, for instance, ALIGN RIGHT, *COMPLEX, *LS and INTEGRITY. The constraints that can be violated consist of KtPr = KD-σ, MAX-IO, DEP-IO, *SPREAD and MAX-µ. All the phonological behaviors of Arabic loanwords are handled suffieciently by using a similar set of hierarchical constraints in the Malay grammar.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful