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AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e) 85 An Acoustic Analysis of the Arabic “ياء” [ja: ʔ]: A Comparative Study of Two Iraqi Dialects Asst. Lect. Hayder Tuama Jasim Al-Saedi Misan University College of Basic Education Abstract: The study is designed to test the acoustic characteristics of two realizations of the Arabic ياء” [ja:ʔ] as a vowel in two Iraqi dialects. There were one hundred people (24-45 years old) participated in this study. They divided into two groups based on their native dialects. Fifty participants (male and female speaker) speak the Maysan City Center Colloquial Arabic (MCCCA) from Alamarah. The other fifty participants speak the Maysan Country or Rural Colloquial Arabic (MCRCA) from the districts around Alamarah. They were given twenty utterances (data collection) to read them off, and their voices were recorded in a private room. The researcher used a software (Goldwave V.6.13) used to purify the the recordings from the noise which may affects the data analysis. The recordings were the input (data analysis) into two software; they are Speech Analyzer V.3.1 and Praat V. 5.4.15. The software extracted the formant frequencies for both MCCCA and MCRCA in spectrograms which showed that the Arabic “ياء” [ja:ʔ] has different acoustic features in the two dialects. Based on the International Phonetic Alphabet chart (IPA), it is pronounced as [i:] in MCRCA and [ia] in MCCCA. Consequently, the vowels, in Iraqi dialects, show different spectrographic features in the pronunciation of vowels. Key words: Iraqi Arabic; MCCCA; MCRCA; Spectrogram; Formants. I. Introduction: Arabic is one of the most common languages in the world. Amir et al (2014) reveal that it is “spoken by 250 × 10 6 (250.000.000) native speakers over large parts of the world, mainly around the Mediterranean in North Africa and Middle East.” Alotaibi & Hussain (2010) state that the huge number of the Arabic speakers makes it the second most spoken language in the world. Arabic is the language of the Holy Quran where its language is called Classic Arabic (CA). It is a little different from today’s Arabic, which is called Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). Nowadays, MSA has different variations. Fergusan (1959) and Kaye (1994) say it is known for its “diglossia.” It makes them to have different varieties such as MSA and Colloquial Arabic dialects and low varieties of Arabic. Iraqi Arabic is one of the dialects of Arabic. It is spoken in Iraq and it has some dialects inside the Iraqi society such as Mouselawi, Baghdadi, Boudoin, and southern dialects. Baghdadi dialect, for example, is spoken in the mid and some cities around Baghdad. However, Mouslawi is spoken by people who live in Mousel and regions around it. Some dialects of south Iraq have different varieties in specific linguistic technique such as the dialects of city center of Maysan, an
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  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

    85

    An Acoustic Analysis of the Arabic [ja: ]:

    A Comparative Study of Two Iraqi Dialects

    Asst. Lect. Hayder Tuama Jasim Al-Saedi

    Misan University College of Basic Education

    Abstract: The study is designed to test the acoustic characteristics of two realizations of the

    Arabic [ja:] as a vowel in two Iraqi dialects. There were one hundred people

    (24-45 years old) participated in this study. They divided into two groups based on

    their native dialects. Fifty participants (male and female speaker) speak the Maysan

    City Center Colloquial Arabic (MCCCA) from Alamarah. The other fifty participants

    speak the Maysan Country or Rural Colloquial Arabic (MCRCA) from the districts

    around Alamarah. They were given twenty utterances (data collection) to read them

    off, and their voices were recorded in a private room. The researcher used a software

    (Goldwave V.6.13) used to purify the the recordings from the noise which may

    affects the data analysis. The recordings were the input (data analysis) into two

    software; they are Speech Analyzer V.3.1 and Praat V. 5.4.15. The software extracted

    the formant frequencies for both MCCCA and MCRCA in spectrograms which

    showed that the Arabic [ja:] has different acoustic features in the two dialects.

    Based on the International Phonetic Alphabet chart (IPA), it is pronounced as [i:] in

    MCRCA and [ia] in MCCCA. Consequently, the vowels, in Iraqi dialects, show

    different spectrographic features in the pronunciation of vowels.

    Key words: Iraqi Arabic; MCCCA; MCRCA; Spectrogram; Formants.

    I. Introduction:

    Arabic is one of the most common languages in the world. Amir et

    al (2014) reveal that it is spoken by 250 106

    (250.000.000) native

    speakers over large parts of the world, mainly around the Mediterranean

    in North Africa and Middle East. Alotaibi & Hussain (2010) state that

    the huge number of the Arabic speakers makes it the second most spoken

    language in the world.

    Arabic is the language of the Holy Quran where its language is

    called Classic Arabic (CA). It is a little different from todays Arabic,

    which is called Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). Nowadays, MSA has

    different variations. Fergusan (1959) and Kaye (1994) say it is known

    for its diglossia. It makes them to have different varieties such as MSA

    and Colloquial Arabic dialects and low varieties of Arabic.

    Iraqi Arabic is one of the dialects of Arabic. It is spoken in Iraq

    and it has some dialects inside the Iraqi society such as Mouselawi,

    Baghdadi, Boudoin, and southern dialects. Baghdadi dialect, for

    example, is spoken in the mid and some cities around Baghdad.

    However, Mouslawi is spoken by people who live in Mousel and regions

    around it. Some dialects of south Iraq have different varieties in specific

    linguistic technique such as the dialects of city center of Maysan, an

  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

    86

    Iraqi city, and the districts around it, which are the focus of this study.

    These dialects can be realized from their speakers especially when they

    pronounce the sound [q]. For example, it is pronounced just like the

    Standard Arabic [q] in Mouselawi. However, the speakers of the other

    dialects, in Iraq, can pronounce it like the Egyptian [g]. This made the

    Iraqi Arabic dialects are distinguished from each other based on their

    phonetic features of their peonounciation.

    Different varieties of Arabic have different functions. For

    example, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the official variety of

    Arabic. Alghamdi (1998) states that Modern Standard Arabic is based on

    Classic Arabic (CA) in terms of lexicon, syntax, morphology, semantics,

    and phonology. It is the language of Media, education, and written texts

    such as literature, newspaper and so on. Furthermore, colloquial dialects

    are spoken in the daily conversation and public speech of the native

    speakers of Arabic. For instance, the Iraqi dialects of Arabic are different

    from the Saudi or Algerian dialects of Arabic. Consequently, Iraqi

    Arabic distinctive from the other dialects of Arabic.

    Generally, Arabic vowels, in some cases, are written and appeared

    in words as they are uttered. Kotby et al (2011) states that vowels cannot

    been seen as letters in the writing system of Arabic. Kotby et al (2011)

    and Abdul-Kadir & Sudirman (2011) say that they can be seen as

    diacritic marks, which are Fatha [a] , Kasra [i] , and damma [u]

    . Moreover, Abdul-Kadir & Sudirman (2011) add that there are other

    diacritics such as nunation (Tanwin) and consonant doubling

    (shadda) [ ]. Kotby et al (2011) reveal that these diacritics can appear

    above or under the consonants in the writing system of Arabic and they

    are realized from speaking.

    Amir et al (2014) say, Differences between MSA and Colloquial

    dialects exist on all linguistic levels at different degrees in each dialect.

    The variation in the pronunciation of consonants and vowels changes in

    the Arabic dialects. Mitchell (1993) states that the vowel system of

    Arabic (CA and MSA) contains three vowels, which are open and close

    front, close back, and any changes from short to long vowels are based

    on the applications of these three vowels. Abdul-Kadir & Sudirman

    (2011) add that the three Arabic vowels are [ja:], [alef], and

    ,waw]. In other words, the vowel system of Arabic has six vowels]

    short vowels /a, i, u/ and long vowels /a:, i:, u:/ (Alghamdi, 1998). These

    vowels vary among the speakers of colloquial dialects, as in the dialects

    of Iraq, especially in Maysan. It makes each vowel sound has some

    different variants. It can be changed to be a diphthong or to another

    vowel. For example, the vowel /i/ can be pronounced differently, you

    will see that below in the following pages.

  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

    87

    This study is limited to the Arabic [ja:]. In Maysan, it varies

    and changes in its pronunciation from one area to another. The

    realization and awareness of uttering this sound shows different language

    variations of Iraqi Arabic between the dialect of the city center of

    Maysan, Alamarah and the districts around it such as Almadgir, AlUzair,

    etc. These districts indicate to the rural or country areas in Maysan and

    people who live there speak the same dialect which can show their rural

    style in speaking. The researcher would like to give acronyms to the

    dialects of Maysan. MCCCA stands for the Maysan City Center

    Colloquial Arabic and MCRCA stands for the dialect of Maysan Country

    or Rural Colloquial Arabic. The purpose behind making these acronyms

    is to make it easy to talk about each dialect in this study.

    The Arabic [ja:] is realized differently in the dialect of

    Maysan. In MCCCA, which is spoken in Alamarah, it seems that people

    pronounce it like a diphthong in the closed syllables. However, it is

    pronounced as front high long vowel /i:/ in MCRCA in the closed

    syllables as well. For example, the word two is pronounced as

    [nian] in MCCCA and [ni:n] in MCRCA. To be sure that these

    differences are correct, the researcher purports to investigate the Arabic

    .ja:] acoustically]

    Linguistically and acoustically, much research of acoustic

    investigations has done on Arabic language. For example, in their study,

    Amir et al (2014) investigated the acoustic characteristics of vowel

    systems of two dialects of Arabic in Israel. Another acoustic study is

    done by Alghamdi (1998); the results of his study reveal that there are

    differences among the Saudi, Sudanese, and Egyptian dialects in the

    vowel quality because it measured the formant frequencies, which are

    important to determine the quality of the Arabic vowels. Moreover, some

    other studies have investigated the spectral and acoustical analysis of

    Arabic vowels for the speakers that have communication disorders and

    speaking aphasics where speakers suffer uttering issues when they speak

    in their daily life (Kotby et al, 2010; Adam, 2014).

    The previous literature used technology to measure the differences

    in vowels, which show variations among Arabic dialects and other

    languages. For example, Amir et al (2014) investigated formant 1 and 2

    of Arabic and Hebrew to reveal the differences of the vowels between

    them.

    In Iraqi Arabic, especially, the dialects of Maysan, there is less

    research has done to investigate the different varieties among its dialects

    in the region of Maysan. Moreover, based on the researchers experience

    in this field of acoustic phonetics of Iraqi Arabic, it may be no acoustic

    analysis of Arabic vowels in MCCCA and MCRCA.

  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

    88

    The researcher investigated the mid-position of the Arabic

    [ja:] in both MCCCA and MCRCA. The purpose behind investigating

    the medial position of this vowel is to prevent and avoid the phrase final

    effects of lengthening the vowels (open syllables). Because the first three

    formants are important to determine and recognize the vowels (Rogers,

    2000), the researcher investigated the formant extraction of the Arabic

    ja:] in MCCCA and MCRCA, and analyzed it acoustically to]

    show the differences in its pronunciation by using the normal human

    vision (the human eyes).

    For this reason, the study aims to examine the acoustic

    characteristics of the Arabic [ja:] and document the acoustic

    analysis in MCCCA and MCRCA. In the same vein, the researcher

    hypothesizes that:

    There are different acoustic differences of the Arabic [ja:] in these dialects.

    These differences can be realized by using the normal human beings vision in the spectrographic analysis (spectrograms) of

    .ja:] in MCCCA and MCRCA]

    These differences can be distinguished by reading off the values of the formant frequencies of [ja:] in MCCCA and MCRCA.

    II. Method:

    A. Participants:

    One hundred participants were used in this study. They were

    divided into two groups; the first group (25 males and 25 females) was

    born and raised in the city center of Maysan (Alamarah). They speak

    MCCCA. The other group (also 25 males and 25 females); they were

    born and raised in the districts of Maysan such as Almadgir. They speak

    MCRCA and they are originally from the families of the villagers who

    live in these regions. The participants of the two groups were the natives

    of the regions that their dialects are the target variations of Arabic, which

    are the focus of this study. The age range of the two groups was between

    25-40 years old. They completed an informal consent form and short

    questionnaire about their age, location, language, and education. The

    researcher gave instructions before filling the forms and instructed them

    about what to do to get information to collect the data.

    B. Data Collection:

    The study focuses on the Arabic [ja:] in MCCCA and

    MCRCA, and how they show different variations in the Iraqi Arabic

  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

    89

    through the spectrographic analysis of this study which can be seen in

    the following pages. It focuses on the acoustic structure of this vowel to

    give evidence that [ja:] has different variants in MCCCA and

    MCRCA.

    The participants were given twenty utterances that are used in

    their daily conversations (see Table 1) to read them off in a private room

    to record their pronunciation of these utterances. The utterances

    translated to English and interpreted to the Modern Standard Arabic

    (MSA) in order to avoid the misunderstanding of the meaning of these

    utterances by Arab and foreign speakers from other countries. No. Utterance Meaning in English MSA Transcription

    [maratein] Twice or two times 1 [u:sein] Hussein 2 Too, also 3 [mnein] From where 4 [nein] Two 5 [kem] How much,how many 6 [:lmmaa] Why 7 [alu:zeir] AlUzair 8 [ialma:n] Piece of iron 9

    [derzen] Dozen 10 [tawla] Table 11 [ateituk] I will come over 12 [elfein] Two thousands 13 [eib] Shame 14 [eib] Grey hair 15 [beid] Eggs 16 [matein] Two hundred 17 [ein ahab] ?Where did he/she go 18 [deib] Pocket 19

    [beit] House/ home 20

    Table 1: The study utterances.

    From Table 1, the study focuses on the Arabic vowel [ja:] in

    MCCCA and MCRCA. The target vowel was embedded in these

    utterances (words), which are monosyllabic and polysyllabic utterances.

    Moreover, the researcher investigated the medial position of this vowel

    in the first or other syllables of the same utterance. He used the closed

    syllables that include this vowel and it might show different variations

    among the two dialects; MCCCA and MCRCA when [ja:] is

    pronounced.

    The researcher focus on the closed syllable (CVC) and the mid-

    position of [ja:] in this study for several reasons. First, the Arabic

    vowels never occur at the beginning of the words. They have to be

  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

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    preceded by Hamza which means the glottal stop (Kopczynski

    & Meliani, 1993). For example, the word [anein], which means

    two starts with the Arabic vowel /a/, but when we try to pronounce it,

    it must be preceded by []. In other words, acoustically, it has to start

    with a glottal stop when it is pronounced and be shown by the

    spectrograms. Moreover, [ja:] cannot be treated as a vowel at the

    beginning of the syllable because it does not occur at the initial position.

    It is pronounced as /j/, which is a consonant. For example, the word

    which means hand is pronounced as [jad]. Second, at the final position

    of the syllable, the [ja:] would always be pronounced as /i:/ in all

    dialects. In other words, it does not show variations in the Iraqi dialects,

    in general, and the dialects of Maysan; in both MCCCA and MCRCA.

    Finally, the mid-position of [ja:] (#___#) had been chosen, in this

    study, to prevent the phrase final effects of the lengthened vowel (CV).

    Based on the researchers experience as a citizen in Maysan, the mid-

    position shows that the [ja:] is a variant of the same vowel in the

    two dialects; MCCCA and MCRCA. However, the researcher would let

    the acoustical analysis, which is represented by the spectrograms decide

    if they are variants or not. That is why he had chosen it to examine and

    investigate the Arabic [ja:].

    C. Equipment:

    The utterances were recorded with a sample rate 22 Hz in a private

    recording room in the department of Fine Arts Education/ College of

    Basic Education/ Misan University. The participants were given

    instructions before the recording time to say the utterances in a normal

    pitch and loudness. The researcher talked to the participants in order to

    make them not nervous and give them the motivation by telling them

    that their participation would support the success of this study.

    After the recordings, the researcher examined the data by using

    technology to analyze it acoustically. The researcher used computer

    softwares to do that. Two softwares are used in this study; they are called

    Speech Analyzer V. 3.1 and Praat. V.5.4.15. The purpose behind

    using these softwares is to get the formant extraction of the Arabic

    ja:] in both MCCCA and MCRCA. In the same vein, the]

    softwares are used to show the spectrograms of the target vowel.

    A spectrogram is a tool that used in the analysis and calculation of

    speech. It has two axes; the vertical axis represents the frequency values

    and the horizontal axis refers to the time to measure each sound in

    milliseconds (Abdul-Kadir et al, 2010). In this study, spectrograms are

    used to realize the formant frequencies of [ja:] in the recorded

    utterances to distinguish the Arabic [ja:] between the two target

  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

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    dialects. It can illustrate the harmonics, intensity, and frequency of the

    sounds. Vowels can be recognized from the formants. In the

    spectrographic analyses, Rogers (2000) states that formants are

    important to determine and distinguish vowels from each other.

    Formants have many characteristics. They show the sequence of

    the harmonics in which we can see the height and backness through the

    intensity of vowels in the spectrograms. For example, in this study, the

    Arabic [ja:] in MCCCA and MCRCA shows that it is pronounced

    as two different sounds in these two dialects. Therefore, the researcher

    would like to analyze this vowel acoustically through looking at the

    differences among the formants visually and numerically in the target

    utterances, and to see if they are pronounced differently.

    There are four formants (F1, F2, F3, and F4) in the spectrogram.

    Each formant has its own measurement of intensity. Their measurements

    depend on the frequency and time of these formants. The frequency is

    measured by Hertz (Hz) and time is measured by milliseconds as

    mentioned above. F1 is approximately about 500 Hz as the highest

    intensity of its frequency. The average frequency of F2 is about 2300 Hz.

    F3 is about 3000 Hz and F4 is about 4400 Hz. Formant 4 is used to

    determine the speech organs of the human beings; these organs are nasal

    and sinus cavities. It is not important in the data analysis of this study.

    The first two formants are the focus of this study to analyze [ja:] in

    MCCCA and MCRCA. They give the linguistic features of each vowel

    when it is pronounced and uttered (Rogers, 2000).

    Because each formant has a role to determine and distinguish

    vowels in a spectrogram, this study was limited to the Arabic [ja:]

    to show the differences between MCCCA and MCRCA in its

    pronunciation by looking at the change of the formant quality in the

    target utterances (see the Results). Each formant frequency has 1000 Hz

    band for adult male speakers. However, it is different for adult women;

    each formant frequency is supposed to be 1100 Hz band due to the

    differences in the shape of the vocal tract between males and females.

    Spectrograms, in Praat, show five formants. Therefore, we need to

    set the formant frequencies on 5000 Hz for male speakers and 5500 Hz

    for female speakers. The reason behind that is males have different vocal

    tract from the one that females have and it reflects the length of the vocal

    tract. For this reason, the maximum formant settings for this study is

    5000 Hz for males and 5500 Hz for females for five formants in order to

    get the clear view of the spectrograms when the target vowel is analyzed.

    In other words, it gives accuracy to read off the F1 and F2 of the vowel

    ja:] in this study. In short, formant frequencies of female speakers]

    are 10% higher than the ones of male speakers because females have

    shorter vocal tract.

  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

    92

    The height of each formant gives specific interpretation of the

    vowels in the spectrograms. In the interpretation of vowels, Rogers

    (2000) states that if F1 has a low frequency, it means it is a high vowel.

    Otherwise, if it has a high frequency, it means the vowel is low where

    the tongue is low. In the same vein, F2 is important to determine the

    backness of vowels. In other words, it refers to a change in the shape of

    the vocal tract. If this formant is high, it means the vowel is front and

    vice versa.

    Because the Iraqi Arabic such as MCCCA and MCRCA are less

    investigated acoustically (formant extraction) than the other dialects of

    Arabic, the researcher would like to analyze the Arabic [ja:] in

    both MCCCA and MCRCA and to measure the differences between

    them by looking at the spectrographic and numerical differences in the

    pronunciation of this vowel.

    D. Measurements and Formant Extractions:

    The recordings examined the hypotheses of this study. The

    researcher used a computer software GoldWave V.6.13 to split the

    recorded utterances into a separate WAV files in order to make it easy to

    elicit the target sound (The Arabic [ja:]) when it would be

    analyzed. The same software is used to release the noise from the

    recordings in order to get the accuracy and preciseness to analyze the

    data recordings.

    In a personal computer, the researcher, as mentioned in

    (Equipment), used Speech Analyzer and Praat to view the utterances in

    spectrograms. Therefore, he could zoom in the waveforms until getting

    the target area which the Arabic [ja:] to recognize the appearance

    of the formants. Then, it should move the start and end cursor, which

    would help to determine the beginning and release of the vowel. In other

    words, it can tell the voice onset time (VOT) of each sound. Likewise,

    the formant appearance helps to decide the average values of the formant

    frequencies from the vertical axis in Hertz (Hz) in the used softwares

    (Speech analyzer and Praat). The same was done for all the data

    recordings of utterances for both MCCCA and MCRCA. The researcher

    compared extracted measurements in each dialect. Consequently, he

    could decide the differences in the pronunciation of the Arabic

    [ja:] (See the Results).

    3. Results and Discussion:

    The results were observed by using spectrograms in Praat and

    Speech Analyzer. This section is divided into two parts; spectrograms

    and formant frequencies. The spectrograms had been analyzed by using

  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

    93

    the normal human beings vision (the human sight) to see the differences

    between MCCCA and MCRCA in the pronunciation of the Arabic

    [ja:]. The second part summarizes a selected sample of the formant

    frequencies for males and females in MCCCA and MCRCA as well to

    read off these formant values by using tables and looking at the

    differences between the target dialects by using graphs.

    A. Spectrograms:

    Figures 2, 3, 4, and 5 are screenshots, which show a set of male

    and female spectrograms of the Arabic [ja:] in MCCCA.

    Figure (2): A speech analyzer screenshot of [ja:] generated by a

    MCCCA Male speaker.

    Figure (3): A Praat screenshot of [ja:] generated by a MCCCA

    male speaker.

  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

    94

    Figure (4): A speech analyzer screenshot of [ja:] generated by a MCCCA

    female speaker.

    Figure (5): A Praat screenshot of [ja:] generated by a MCCCA female speaker.

    Based on the recordings of MCCCA, the [ja:] is pronounced

    as /ia/ based on the symbols of IPA chart . Figures 2, 3, 4, and 5 are

    screenshots of male and female speakers of MCCCA where the

    researcher extracted the [ja:] using the mentioned softwares

    (Speech analyzer and Praat). Rogers (2000) states that any differences in

    the shape of the spectrograms of males and females, they belong to the

    differences between the vocal tract shapes of the male and female

    speakers. For this reason, from the above figures, we can notice that

    there is a gap, which starts between F1 and F2. Then, it becomes narrow

    when we see that F1 and F2 come to be a little closer to each other. In

    other words, F1 starts low which means the pronounced vowel is high.

    However, the end cursor shows that F1 goes little higher. It gives

    evidence that the tongue changes from one place to another. F2 starts

  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

    95

    higher which means it is a front vowel and it goes lower towards F1 at

    the end of its pronunciation. In other words, a change in the formant

    shapes gives us a recognition that the speaker changes the pronunciation

    from one vowel to another. Consequently, that is why the Arabic

    [ja:] is pronounced as [ia] based on the International Phonetic Alphabet

    chart (IPA) which is revised in 2005.

    In the same vein, Figures 6, 7, 8, and 9 are screenshots, which

    show a set of male and female spectrograms of the Arabic [ja:] in

    MCRCA.

    Figure (6): A speech analyzer screenshot of [ja:] generated by a MCRCA male

    speaker.

    Figure (7): A Praat screenshot of [ja:] generated by a MCRCA male speaker.

  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

    96

    Figure (8): A speech analyzer screenshot of [ja:] generated by a

    MCRCA female speaker.

    F

    igure (9): A Praat screenshot of [ja:] generated by a MCRCA female speaker.

    They show that there is almost a parallel gap between F1 and F2 because

    F2 is higher than F1. The start and end cursors in the above figures show

    that we can notice that F1 is low, which means that [ja:] is high.

    They can enable the reader to look at the spectrogram and determine the

    target vowel which is [ja:]. In other words, the tongue is raised. F2

    is high which means that the vowel is front. Consequently, based on the

    realization and awareness of the pronunciation of [ja:] in the

    results, it confirms that it is pronounced as [i:].

  • AL-USTATH Special issue of the international scientific conference ( 2016 M- 1437 e)

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    B. Formant Frequencies of MCCCA and MCRCA:

    The Arabic [ja:] can be realized as [i:], as mentioned above,

    in MCRCA (male and female speakers) and [ia] in MCCCA (male and

    female speakers). From the selected sample of formant frequencies,

    Table 2 shows the formant values of [ja:] from the start and end

    cursors which can be gathered from the Speech Analyzer and Praat

    spectrograms for both MCCCA and MCRCA for one female speaker and

    one male speaker.

    Table 2: Formant Frequencies of [ja:] from MCCCA and

    MCRCA generated by male and female speakers.

    As mentioned earlier in this paper, F1 and F2 are important to

    determine the vowels from the spectrograms and formant frequencies. In

    Table 2, we can see that there is a variation in the pronunciation of

    [ja:]. In MCCCA (female speaker), the value of F1 is 314 to 333 Hz

    band. F2 starts with 2481 Hz and ends with 2090 Hz. In other words, F2

    starts higher and then it goes little down due to the change of the vocal

    tract during the pronunciation of [ja:]. In addition, with a MCCCA

    (male speaker), F1 starts with 263 Hz and ends with 409 Hz. F2 starts

    with 2059 Hz and ends with 1973 Hz. It means that it starts with higher

    and goes down as well. As mentioned above, any differences in formant

    values belong to the differences between the shape of the male and

    female vocal tracts (swphonetics.com). Figure 10 summarizes the

    formant frequencies of MCCCA (male and female speaker).

    Figure 10: The Formant frequencies of [ja:] (female and male speakers) in

    MCCCA

    Female

    Formant MCCCA MCRCA

    Start End Start End

    F1 314 333 250 216

    F2 2481 2090 2685 2350

    F3 3299 3045 2999 3101

    Male

    F1 263 409 255 376

    F2 2059 1973 2403 2140

    F3 2680 2876 2995 2857

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    In MCRCA (See Table 2), F1 (female speaker) starts with 250 Hz

    and ends with 216 Hz. Therefore, it starts little higher and spreads at the

    release of [ja:]. F2 starts with 2685 Hz and ends with 2350 Hz. In

    the same vein, F1 (male speaker) starts with 255 Hz and ends with 376

    Hz. F2 starts with 2403 Hz and ends with 2140 Hz. Consequently, F1

    and F2 (male and female speakers) show a gap between them where F1

    is low and F2 is high. They confirm that the vowel is high front [i:].

    Figure 11 shows how formant frequencies of F2 is higher than F1.

    Figure 11: The Formant frequencies of [ja:] (female and male speakers) in

    MCRCA

    To sum up, Table 3 summarizes the IPA transcriptions of the data

    sample (utterances) based on how the participants pronounced [ja:]

    in the target dialects (MCCCA and MCRCA) where MCRCA

    participants pronounced [ja:] and realized as [i:], and MCCCA

    participants pronounced it and realized as [ia]. The researcher used the

    IPA chart that was revised in 2005. Utterance Meaning in

    English

    MCCCA Transcription MCRCA Transcription

    Twice or two

    times

    [merti:n] [mertian]

    [si:n] [sian] Hussein

    Too, also

    [mni:n] [mnian] From where

    [ni:n] [nian] Two

    ,How much

    how many

    [bi:] [bia]

    [li:] [lia] Why

    [lzi:r] [lziar] AlUzair

    [i:lma:na] ialma:na] Piece of iron

    [si:t] [siat] Dozen

    [miaz] [miaz] Table

    I will come over [diatek]

    [di:tek]

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    [elfi:n] [elfian] Two thousands

    [i:b] [iab] Shame

    [i:b] [iab] Grey hair

    [bi:d] [biad] Eggs

    [mitian] Two hundred [miti:n]

    Where did he/she

    go?

    [wi:n ra:] [wian ra:]

    [di:b] [diab] Pocket

    [bi:t] [biat] House/ home

    Table 3: The Transcription of the utterances in MCCCA and MCRCA.

    4. Conclusions:

    The study shows different acoustic features between MCCCA and

    MCRCA in the pronunciation of the Arabic vowel [ja:]. It has

    different variations among the speakers of the same two dialects;

    MCCCA and MCRCA. It is pronounced as [i:] in MCRCA and [ia] in

    MCCCA. Therefore, they are variants of the same vowel because it was

    limited to the mid-position in the closed syllables. Besides, the formant

    readings give evidence to the study that the vowel have different

    measurements in both MCCCA and MCRCA. Consequently, it shows

    that they are different acoustic characteristics in the same region

    (Maysan).

    References: 1. Abdul-Kadir, N. A., Sudirman, R., & Safri, N, M. (2010). Modelling of

    Arabic Plosive Consonants Characteristics based on Spectrogram. In

    Mathematical/ Analytical Modelling and Computer Simulation (AMS), 2010

    Fourth Asia International Conference. 282-285. IEEE.

    2. Abdul-Kadir, N. A., Sudirman, R. (2011). Vowel effects towards Dental Arabic Consonants

    3. based on spectrogram. In Intelligent systems, Modelling and Simulation (ISMS). 2011 Second International Conference.183-188. IEEE.

    4. Adam, H. (2014). Acoustical Analysis of vowel duration in Palestinian Arabic Speaking Aphasics. American Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience

    2(1), 13-17.

    5. Alghamdi , M. M. (1998). A spectrographic analysis of Arabic vowels: A cross-dialect study. Journal of King Saud University 10(1), 3-24

    6. Alotaibi, Y. A. & Hussain, A. (2010). Comparative analysis of Arabic Vowels using formants and an automatic speech recognition. International

    Journal of signal processing, Image processing and pattern Recognition 3(2),

    11-21.

    7. Amir, N., Amir, O., & Rosenhouse, J. (2014). Colloquial Arabic Vowels in Israel: A Comparative acoustic study of two dialects. The journal of

    Acoustical society of America, 136(4), 1895-1907.

    8. Ferguson, C. A. (1959). Diglossia, Word 15, pp. 325-340

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    9. Kaye, A. S. (1994). Formal and Informal in Arabic: Diglossia, Triglossia, Tetraglossia, etc.Polyglossia-Multiglossia Viewed as Continuum, Z.

    Arabische Linguistik 27,47-60.

    10. Kopczynski, A. & Meliani, R (1993). The Vowels of Arabic and English. Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics 27, 183-192.

    11. Kotby, M. N., Hegazi, M., Gamal, N., Abdel Salam, M., Nabil, A., & Fahmi, S. (2011). The Arabic Vowels: Features and possible clinical applications in

    communication disorders. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedia 63(4), 171-177.

    12. Mitchell, T. F. (1993). Pronouncing Arabic. Oxford University Press 2. 13. Rogers, H. (2000). The sounds of language: An introduction to phonetics.

    Routledge.

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