The phonology of nasal n in the language of the Holy Qur'an




Al-Hashmi, Shadiya Adam.

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~ajwid (Tajweed) - the tradition of the Holy Qur'an's recitation - is composed of about twenty-eight phonological patterns, which have an underlying semantidpragmatic meaning of sacredness. Nasal n assimilation patterns of 'idgh?im (gemination with & without nasalization), 'ikhfa' (nasal place assimilation), 'i+b (labial place assimilation) and %ihhiir (zero nasal assimilation) are taken as representative of Tajwid in this work. The central theme of this thesis is two fold. First, the twenty-eight sounds of the language of the Holy Qur'an (LHQ) as used in the four patterns of nasal n assimilation are distributed among the three natural sound classes of sonorants, obstruents and gutturals, the latter of which crosscuts the other two. Second, the realization of the meaning of sacredness in the LHQ is best accounted for by Kurisu's (2001) Realize Morpheme Theory set in Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993). Kurisu's (2001) Realize Morpheme constraint is expanded herein to encompass a variety of meanings; i.e., morphosyntactic and non-morphosyntactic. Like Kurisu (2001), I contend that faith is relativized to the meaning expressed in that each pattern is determined by ranking a particular faithfulness constraint in relation to RM. However, the meaning expressed in the LHQ is non-morphosyntactic. This thesis is organized as follows. Chapter one introduces the reader to the Language of the Holy Qur'an through describing its genetic affiliation and geographical location in addition to past research done on it and the theoretical assumption adopted. Chapter two describes each patterniprocess of nasal n in the LHQ, whereas chapter three explores how the LHQ sounds are grouped into natural sound classes. Finally, chapter four analyses nasal n patterns in the LHQ using Kurisu's (2001) Theory of Realize Morpheme set in Optimality Theory.