An Optimality Analysis of the Phonology of French Loanwords as Manifested in the Eastern Part of Algeria

Sara Kessar, Radwan S. Mahadin


The present study sheds lights on the French loanwords which are integrated in the Algerian Spoken Arabic (ASA), particularly the dialect spoken in the Eastern part. It identifies the phonological processes used to adapt them within an Optimality Theory (OT) framework. A thorough scrutiny of the data indicated that the French loanwords underwent a number of adaptations to fit into the phonological system of the Algerian Arabic. Moreover, the results revealed that this nativization process involves a number of phonological processes, namely unpacking of nasal vowels, nasal place assimilation, vowel deletion, front vowel raising, voicing, devoicing and stopping, in addition to lateral assimilation. The application of optimality framework as to explicate the adaptations of French loanwords has shown that they emanate from a steady conflict between the faithfulness constraints, which condition the preservation of original input forms, and the markedness constraints describing the Algerian Arabic marked phonological system.

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