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Volume :9 Issue : 35 1989      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Syllable Patterns in Standard Arabic: A Quantitative Study

Auther : Issam M. Abu-Salim

The purpose of this study is to analyze the syllable structure of standard Arabic words in terms of the syllable patterns that these words have. The word pattern is used here to refer to the types of syllables that words are composed of, and to the way these syllables are combined to form words. To achieve this goal, the syllable structures of all the words found in Wehrs dictionary, which contains more than 45,000 entries, were surveyed. The survey showed that there are about 1291 syllable patterns in Arabic, which is less than 0.5% of the potential syllable patterns that may occur in Arabic, given the six syllable types and the different ways of combining these syllables to form words consisting of 1-10 syllables.

The present study gives a quantitative analysis of the actual syllable patterns that occur in Arabic. It focuses on the distribution of the six syllable types in initial, medial, and final position in all word sizes, the frequency of the six syllable types, the frequency of syllable patterns, and on syllable-type recursion.

The study shows that there are no restrictions on the C V, C V V, and C V C syllables: they occur in any position regardless of the word length. The remaining heavier syllables occur most frequently in final position in short words. It also shows that the C V syllable is the most frequent and the CV V C C syllable the least frequent, and that the hexasyllabic patterns are the most frequent of all patterns.

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