Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

English Language and Literature

Committee Member

Beverley Goodman, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

T. Daniel Seely, Ph.D.


This thesis examines syllable structure in Qassimi Arabic (QA), a Najdi dialect spoken in Al-Qassim region in Saudi Arabia. Syllable-related phenomena in QA have not been fully addressed and understood because QA has not received attention in the available literature on syllable structure within Arabic dialects. Thus, the present study aims to provide an analysis of syllable structure in QA and to contribute to the current research on Arabic syllable structure. Adopting the framework of Optimality Theory, this study explores the effect of high vowel deletion on syllable structure and the treatment of superheavy syllables in QA. Results confirm three main arguments proposed in this study. First: onset clusters in QA are prohibited. Second: trimoraic syllables in QA are prohibited. Third: the concept of contiguity, which prevents internal epenthesis into certain strings, accounts for both the site of the epenthetic vowel and the existence of non-final CVVC and CVCC syllables.

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