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ʾIṭbāq

(1,176 words)

Author(s): Muhammad Hasan Bakalla
The term ʾiṭbāq, derived from the Arabic root ṭ-b-q, generally means ‘covering, e.g. a lid covering a pot’. As a phonetic term, it is defined by Sībawayhi as “the raising of the (back of) the tongue toward the velum” ( Kitāb IV, 436). While some modern phoneticians call ʾiṭbāq ‘emphasis’ (Vollers 1893:147), others speak of ‘velarization’ (Gairdner 1925:20). Gairdner defines velarization as an articulation in which “the back of the tongue is raised towards the back of the velum, i.e. the extreme back of the palate. The tongue feels as if it ‘f…
Date: 2018-04-01

Tafxīm

(1,766 words)

Author(s): Muhammad Hasan Bakalla
The term tafxīm is derived from the Arabic triliteral root f-x-m, generally signifying ‘thickening, magnifying, enlargement, emphasizing’. This notion was applied to the Arabic sound system to differentiate between certain sound groups. One class includes the four muṭbaqa consonants ( ʾiṭbāq): /ḍ/ ض, /ṣ/ص , /ṭ/ ط, and /ḏ̣/ ظ. In addition, three more consonants, /q/ ق, /ġ/ غ, and /x/ خ, are grouped with these four consonants to form a larger class, known as mustaʿliya ‘elevated, raised [consonants]’. They are called thus because of “the raising of the back of the tongue…
Date: 2018-04-01

Nasalization

(1,278 words)

Author(s): Muhammad Hasan Bakalla
In order to discuss nasalization, one has to give a brief account of nasality. Both nasality and nasalization are natural properties of language. Nasality in speech, as opposed to orality, is a reflection of the physical position of the soft palate, or the velum. In this position, the posterior part of the velum, or the uvula, is lowered so as to keep the nasal cavity or specifically the velopharyngeal port open while pronouncing the nasal sounds. There are two basic nasal consonants in most lan…
Date: 2018-04-01