Michael E. Marmura Lectures in Arabic Studies 2023-24: Abdel-Khalig Ali

When and Where

Friday, March 01, 2024 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
BF200B, Conference Room
Bancroft Building (4 Bancroft Avenue, Toronto)


Abdel-Khalig Ali, Associate Professor, University of Toronto


The Case of the Disappearing Hamza: Reanalysis of Radicals in Contemporary Spoken Dialects of Arabic

The Michael E. Marmura Lectures in Arabic Studies 2023-24 presents "The Case of the Disappearing Hamza: Reanalysis of Radicals in Contemporary Spoken Dialects of Arabic" on Friday, March 1, 2024 at 2 PM (Eastern Time: US and Canada).

The literature on the grammar of Classical Arabic describes intricate patterns of realization of the glottal stop, represented in the Arabic alphabet by the hamza diacritic. In his Al-Kita:b, the grammarian Sibawayh (d. between 793-796) dedicates an entire section to describing the patterns attested in the different dialects of Classical Arabic, spoken in the Arabian Peninsula. Many of these patterns are also attested in Modern Standard Arabic whose grammar bears significant resemblance to that of Classical Arabic. Most contemporary spoken dialects preserve the glottal stop in their phonemic inventories, and a cursory look at these dialects reveals equally interesting realization patterns. The small body of literature on this subject reports a general weakening and, in some contexts, a total loss of the glottal stop. However, systematic descriptive studies and explanations of these phenomena are simply lacking. In this talk, I address this limitation. I identify some of these patterns and offer an explanation as to why and how they have come to exist.

Abdel-Khalig Ali is an Associate Professor of Arabic Language and Linguistics in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at University of Toronto. He is a phonologist specializing in contemporary dialects of Arabic, particularly those spoken in Sudan. His research spans the areas of prosodic phonology and metrical structure, the interaction between phonology and morphology, the interaction between phonology and syntax, and the emergence of certain morphophonological features in contemporary spoken dialects of Arabic.

Zoom Registration: https://utoronto.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAoceyurTgrGdIYY5wKeS9iBlXBkr...

* See the event poster: PDF icon2023.24.5.marmura_ali.pdf