Kurdish Adaptation of Arabic Loan Consonants A Feature Driven Model of Loan Adaptation

Main Article Content

Twana S. Hamid


This paper addresses the status of the Arabic loan consonants in Central Kurdish (CK). Based on the Arabic loanwords, it assesses different scenarios on how the foreign consonants are adapted. The paper finds out that Arabic loan consonants in CK can be classified into three groups: Consonants that are part of the phonemic inventory of both languages; consonants that are borrowed faithfully, i.e. without adaptation and finally consonants that are not allowed in the phonemic inventory of CK, i.e. require feature adaptation. The paper also makes contribution to the theories of loan adaptation. It shows that neither Phonological Stance Model nor Phonetic Stance Model can account for the way Arabic consonants are (un)adapted in CK. The faithful borrowing of guttural consonants and the adaptation of dental fricatives and emphatics to match the phonemic inventory of CK shows that there are active marking statements that (dis)allow a combination of features that form a segment. Some other factors also play roles in the faithful borrowing of the loan consonants such as frequency of the loanwords with loan phonemes, orthographic input and the sensitivity of the faithful pronunciation of the loanwords such as the loanwords that are proper names. Common proper names with guttural phonemes are borrowed faithfully.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Hamid, T. S. (2021) “Kurdish Adaptation of Arabic Loan Consonants: A Feature Driven Model of Loan Adaptation”, Koya University Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(1). Available at: https://jhss.koyauniversity.org/index.php/jhss/article/view/421 (Accessed: 26July2021).
Author Biography

Twana S. Hamid, Department of English language, College of Languages, University of Sulaimani, Kurdistan region, Iraq

Twana S. Hamid is a Lecturer of Linguistics & English Language at the Department of English Language, University of Sulaimani. He gained his B.A. in English language and Literature from University of Sulaimani in 2001. He has several years of teaching English before gaining his M.A. in English language and Applied Linguistics from University of Sulaimani in 2008. After several years of Teaching phonology in various English Departments in Sulaimani, he started his Doctorate studies at Newcastle University, UK. Dr. Twana studied Phonetics and Phonology intensively before writing his Ph.D. thesis on central Kurdish Prosodic structure.


Abdulla, J. (1980) Some aspects of language purism among Kurdish speakers. Ph.D. thesis, University of York.

Bellem, A. (2007) Towards a Comparative Typology of Emphatics. Ph.D. thesis, University of London.

Bobaljik, J. (2006) ‘Itelmen reduplication: Edge-In association and lexical stratification.’ Journal of Linguistics, 42(01), pp1-23.

Boersma, P. and S. Hamann. (2009) ‘Loanword adaptation as first-language phonological perception’, in: Calabrese, Andrea. and W. Leo Wetzels (eds.) Loan Phonology, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamin, pp11-58

Calabrese, A. (2009). ‘Perception, production and acoustic inputs in loanword phonology’, in: Calabrese, A. and W. L.

Wetzels (eds.) Loan Phonology, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamin, pp 59-114.

Calabrese, Andrea and W. Leo Wetzels. (2009) ‘Loan Phonology: issues and controversies’, in Loan Phonology, (eds.)

Calabrese, Andrea. and W. Leo Wetzels,. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamin, pp 1-11

Chyet, M. (1998) ‘Kurdish Lexicography a Survey and Discussion’. Iran and the Caucasus, 2(1), pp 109-118.

Fattah, M. (1997) A generative grammar of Kurdish. Ph.D. thesis. University of Amsterdam.

Fries, C. and Kenneth, K. (1949) ‘Coexistent phonemic systems.’ Language, 25(1), 29-50.

Hamid, T. (2016) The prosodic Phonology of Central Kurdish. Ph.D. thesis. University of Newcastle, UK.

Haspelmath, M. (2009) ‘Lexical borrowing: Concepts and issues,’ in Haspelmath, M and Tadmor, U. Loanwords in the world’s languages: A comparative handbook. Berlin” Mouton, pp. 35-54.

Hassanpour, A. (1992) Nationalism and language in Kurdistan, 1918-1985. Edwin Mellen.

Itô, J. and Mester, A. (1999) ‘The phonological lexicon,’ in Tsujimura, T. The Handbook of Japanese Linguistics. pp. 62-100.

Jacobs, H. and Gussenhoven, C. (2000) ‘Loan Phonology: Perception, salience, the lexicon and OT,’ in Dekkers, J. , Leeuw, F. and J. van de Weijer. (eds.) Optimality Theory: Phonology, Syntax and Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 193-210.

Kahn, M. (1976) ‘Borrowing and Regional Variation in a Phonological Description of Kurdish’ Ph.D. thesis. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Phonetics Laboratory of the University of Michigan.

Kang, Y. (2011) ‘Loanword Phonology’, in: van Oostendorp, M, Colin E, E. Hume, and K. Rice ( eds.) The Blackwell companion to phonology. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 2258-2283..

Kenstowicz, M. (2010). ‘Loanword Phonology and Enhancement.’ Seoul International conference on Linguistics. Seoul: pp. 104-112.

Kim, H. (2009) ‘Korean adaptation of English affricates and fricatives in a feature-driven model of loanword adaptation,’ in: Calabrese, A. and W. L. Wetzels (eds.) Loan Phonology, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamin, pp 155-180.

LaCharité, D. and Paradis, C. (2005) ‘Category preservation and proximity versus phonetic approximation in loanword adaptation.’ Linguistic inquiry, 36(2), pp.223-258.

Matras, Y. (2007) ‘The borrowability of structural categories.’ Grammatical borrowing in cross-linguistic perspective, 38, pp.31-73.

Matras, Y. (2009) Language contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McCarus, E. (1958) A Kurdish Grammar: descriptive analysis of the Kurdish of Sulaimaniya, Iraq. Ph.D. thesis. American Council of Learned Societies.

Paradis, C. and LaCharite, D. (1997) ‘Preservation and minimality in loanword adaptation.’ Journal of Linguistics 33: pp.379-430.

Paradis, C. and LaCharite, D. (2001) ‘Guttural deletion in loanwords.’ Phonology. 18: pp.255-300.

Paradis, C. and. Tremblay, A (2009) ‘Nondistinctive features in loanword adaptation.’ ’ in: Calabrese, A. and W. L. Wetzels (eds.) Loan Phonology, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamin, pp.211-224.

Peperkamp, S. and Dupoux, E. (2002) ‘A typological study of stress ‘deafness’.’ Laboratory phonology. 7: pp.203-240.

Peperkamp, S. and Dupoux, E. (2003) ‘Reinterpreting loanword adaptations: the role of perception.’ Proceedings of the 15th international congress of phonetic sciences (Vol. 367, p. 370).

Pierrehumbert, J. Beckman, M. E. and Ladd, D.R. (2000) ‘Conceptual foundations of phonology as a laboratory science,’ in: Burton-Roberts, N. ; Carr, P. and Gerard. D. (eds.) Phonological knowledge: Conceptual and empirical issues. Oxford: Oxford: University Press.pp. 273–303.

Vendelin, I. and Peperkamp, S. (2006) ‘The influence of orthography on loanword adaptations.’ Lingua, 116: pp.996-1007.

Wahby, T. and Edmonds, C. (1966) Kurdish-English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Walter, M. (2004) ‘Loan Adaptation in Zazaki.’ Studies in Zazaki Grammar. Cambridge MA.: MIT.

Yip, M. (2006) ‘The symbiosis between perception and grammar in loanword phonology.’ Lingua 116:pp.950-975.