Abdulla A. Al-Ba-
Dept. of English Language and Literature, United Arab Emirates Univ., P.O. Box 671612, Al-Ain, U.A.E.
This study investigates the acoustic correlates of distinctive vowel length in Arabic, and examines the extent to which these cues might figure in the phonological distinction of vowel length in Arabic. The perceptual experiment determines the accuracy with which vowel duration contrast in spoken Arabic can be auditorily represented. The method was to create sets of stimuli by adding or removing a variable numbers of the excised vowel pitch period in the data selected. These stimuli were presented to native speakers of Arabic in a word identification task. The perceptual accuracy of vowel duration as determined from the slopes of the identification curves revealed that relative vowel duration is the dominant acoustic cue in the phonological distinction of vowel length in Arabic. But spectral cues such as steady-state formant frequency, level of intensity play a significant secondary role in the discrimination of vowel contrast when the relative duration is maximally ambiguous between short versus long vowels. [sup a)]Send notice to: P.O. Box 5837, Sharjah, U.A.E.