Paradigmatic contrast: an example from Arabic
Michael Kenstowicz, MIT

T.F. Mitchell (1993) observed that the 3 sg. feminine form of the perfect inflection is the site of several phonological quirks in several modern Arabic colloquial dialects. The various allomorphic substitutions, stress shifts, and geminations can be understood as maneuvers the language makes in order to block the syncope of the suffixal vowel which would otherwise merge this form of the paradigm with the 1 sg. and 2 sg. masculine. A similar observation was made by Heath (1987) for a Moroccan dialect. In this paper we review the evidence cited by Mitchell and then report the results of a survey of various North African dialects. We then place the results in a larger typology of paradigm identity and contrast.