High Vowel Syncope Failure in Urban Jordanian Arabic: A Positional Faithfulness Treatment


Although several studies have provided insightful accounts and analyses of places and environments where high vowel syncope is at play in different Arabic dialects (e.g., Abu-Salim 1987; Abu-Mansour 1995; Kiparsky 2003; McCarthy 2007), they have not identified or accounted for circumstances in which high vowel syncope fails to apply. This paper, thus, fills in this gap in the literature. Adopting positional faithfulness theory, the study explains the uncharacteristic resisting behavior of certain prominent positions. It is shown that the high vowel syncope process causes any weak high vowel to be deleted except when occurring in one of the prominent positions of the 1) stressed syllable, 2) final syllable, or 3) proper name subcategory. However, weak positions like unstressed syllable and nonfinal syllable submit to high vowel neutralizing syncope in Urban Jordanian Arabic. This shows that syncope targets only weak structures in weak positions.


Aziz Jaber and Osama Omari


high vowel, positional faithfulness, prominence, syncope, Urban Jordanian Arabic