Colloquial Arabic vowels in Israel: A comparative acoustic study of two dialects

Noam Amir*, Ofer Amir, Judith Rosenhouse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores the acoustic properties of the vowel systems of two dialects of colloquial Arabic spoken in Israel. One dialect is spoken in the Galilee region in the north of Israel, and the other is spoken in the Triangle (Muthallath) region, in central Israel. These vowel systems have five short and five long vowels /i, i:, e, e:, a, a:, o, o:, u, u:/. Twenty men and twenty women from each region were included, uttering 30 vowels each. All speakers were adult Muslim native speakers of these two dialects. The studied vowels were uttered in non-pharyngeal and non-laryngeal environments in the context of CVC words, embedded in a carrier sentence. The acoustic parameters studied were the two first formants, F0, and duration. Results revealed that long vowels were approximately twice as long as short vowels and differed also in their formant values. The two dialects diverged mainly in the short vowels rather than in the long ones. An overlap was found between the two short vowel pairs /i/-/e/ and /u/-/o/. This study demonstrates the existence of dialectal differences in the colloquial Arabic vowel systems, underlining the need for further research into the numerous additional dialects found in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1895-1907
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014


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