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Paradigmatic stability and final laryngeals in nigerian arabic: Why history repeats itself, without actually doing so

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Chapter Summary

Arabic presents a rich domain for examining processes of linguistic change. At one extreme are the challenges presented by the rapid and dramatic restructuring witnessed in the Creole Arabic varieties of the southern Sudan and East Africa. Nigerian Arabic is unremarkable vis-à-vis other Arabic dialects in its verbal structure. This paper documents one such change. The fact of change in one variety does not justify an historical model based on the Old/New split. This point is illustrated on the basis of verbs ending in a glottal stop, or in some cases, a final voiceless glottal fricative /h/. The chapter also investigates what happens to verbs like simi 'hear', gada 'cut' and karah 'hate', verbs with final '/h. The WSA developments would ostensibly appear to support the idea of linguistic history repeating itself: final laryngeals in Arabic verbs tend to 'drift' into weak-final ones.

Keywords: Creole Arabic; final laryngeals; Nigerian Arabic



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