JA (iohanne) wrote in linguaphiles,

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Emphatic Consonants in Arabic

I'm taking a break from Hebrew since I kind of suck at it but I don't want to wander too far off so I've been trying to prepare myself to scale the mountain that is Arabic. I'm learning the alphabet and doing quite well at being able to read. My handwriting is a little shaky but I don't plan to really be writing that much. I'm also capable of making most of the sounds in isolation and within words. However, I'm having a little difficulty with my emphatic consonants. I've read the phonetic descriptions of the sounds as pharyngealisation and there are several learn-Arabic sites that reproduce the sounds in isolation. I can make them in isolation perfectly fine but when I pronounce them in a word I hear that the pharyngealisation spreads into the surrounding segments. For example, there is a pharyngealised [t] in the word marbuuTa (as in taa' marbuuTa). The fatHah after the pharyngealised [t] is also pharyngealised when I pronounce it and almost unavoidably so. The pharyngealisation also spreads to the preceeding waw though I can, when very careful, avoid that. When I'm really lazy, the pharyngealisation even spreads regressively all the way to the baa'!

Is pharyngealisation spreading to neighbouring segments common among native-speaking Arabs or is this the influence of my English phonology? If the latter, what the frick am I going to do to improve this? Just start speaking really slow and then picking up speed later? LOL

Thanks in advance!
Tags: arabic

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