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The Variable (H) In Damascus: Analysis Of A Stable Variable

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is a sociolinguistic investigation of the variable (h) in the pronominal suffixes in the dialect of Damascus. The variation concerns the presence or absence of the variant [h] in the 3rd person feminine suffix /-ha/ and the plural, feminine and masculine, suffix /-hon/. Damascus is the oldest-established metropolis of the Levant and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. The chapter is based on the speech a sample of 59 men and women, 30 of whom are based in Dummar and 29 in Shaghoor. Speakers were divided into old, middle and young age groups. Variation in the presence or absence of /h/ in the feminine and plural suffixes induces changes in the patterns of word stress. Variants of (h) are coded for two linguistic environments: a preceding consonant and a preceding vowel. The chapter presents fresh sociolinguistic analysis of an old linguistic variable.

Keywords: Damascus; preceding consonant; preceding vowel; Shaghoor; variable (h)



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