In Moroccan Arabic it is widely accepted that short vowels are mostly elided, resulting in consonant clusters and consonant geminates. In this paper we present evidence from our exploratory timing study that challenges this widely accepted principle. We work with minimal pairs of singleton consonants vs. geminates (e.g. /bka/ vs. /b@kka/) that reveals a presence of a vowel insertion between the clusters in word initial position in singleton cases. The length of the vowel insertion (epenthetic vowel) and silent pause of the stop consonant is greater than of a noise material. The epenthetic vowel is present in isolated words and in sentence context too. In this paper we also provide phonetic correlates in the minimal pairs - between epenthetic vowel and lexical vowel, between singleton and geminate consonants, and contrast these with other Arabic dialect phonetic timing studies.
Bibliographic reference. Ali, Azra N. / Lahrouchi, Mohamed / Ingleby, Michael (2008): "Vowel epenthesis, acoustics and phonology patterns in Moroccan Arabic", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 1178-1181.