q as a velar fricative?

Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Thu Nov 8 21:01:12 UTC 2001

My Farsi materials are at home, but I have a vague recollection (going
back 25+ years) that the uvular fricative for Arabic qof might be a
feature of some varieties of Farsi, which, after all, is closely related
to Pashto and Dari (Indo-Iranian languages spoken in Afghanistan). It's
further worth noting that using L2 pronunciation ("correspondents who have
worked in Arabic-speaking countries") as evidence for authentic
pronunciation of any foreign language sound is at best dangerous. On the
third hand (yes, I can *mix* that metaphor still further), it's not
unprecedented for people to think that Farsi is actually closely related
to Arabic, since they use the same writing system and there's been a heavy
influx of Arabic vocabulary into Farsi.

On Wednesday, November 7, 2001, at 12:08  PM, A. Maberry wrote:

> To the best of my knowledge, the q of al-Qa'idah is not pronounced as a
> "kh" by any speaker of modern standard Arabic. The beginning consonant of
> Khomeini is a fricative kh sound, the beginning consonant of Qaidah is "a
> strongly articulated gutteral k; but in parts of Arabia and throughout
> North Africa, it is pronounced as a hard g; whilst in Cairo and some parts
> of Syria it is vulgarly confounded with alif" [which would yield the
> pronunciation al-A'idah--ed.] (Wright. Grammar of the Arabic Language).
> I don't know where Safire got his information, but it certainly  seems to
> be incorrect.
> allen
> maberry at u.washington.edu
> On Wed, 7 Nov 2001 hstahlke at ATT.NET wrote:
>> In his 11/4 column, William Safire says that the <q> of
>> Al Qaida "represents a fricative kh sound."  He compares
>> it to the <kh> in Khomeini, and adds
>> that "correspondents who have worked in Arabic-speaking
>> countries use the palate-clearing sound of kh."  Does he
>> know something my Arab students and speakers like Edward
>> Said don't know, or does he not know about voiceless
>> uvular stops?
>> Herb Stahlke
>> Ball State University

Alice Faber
Haskins Laboratories                                    Tel: (203) 865-6163
270 Crown St                                            FAX: (203) 865-8163
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                              faber at haskins.yale.edu

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