Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 14. Number 1 March 2023                                             Pp.486-501

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Phonological Features of Saudi Arabian Anthroponyms

Yasser A. S. Al Tamimi
English Department
College of Science and General Studies
Alfaisal University, Riyadh- Saudi Arabi
Corresponding Author

 Michael Smith
English Department
College of Science and General Studies
Alfaisal University, Riyadh- Saudi Arabia


Received:12/02/2022             Accepted: 03/15/2023           Published: 03/24/2023

Beyond its traditional function, phonology has been demonstrated to play a significant role in the gender marking of given names in some Germanic languages. However, this significance has not been investigated for Semitic languages, including Arabic. Therefore, irrespective of the classical gender-identification approaches (i.e., familiarity, morphology, semantics, and pragmatics), the present study examines whether the phonological structures of Saudi first names may solely reveal the gender of that name. The first names of Saudi males (N= 237) and Saudi females (N=419) drawn from the registrar of a Saudi university in Riyadh were analyzed according to various phonological variables, including the number of phonemes, the number of syllables, the distinction between open vs closed syllables, the manner of articulation of name-initial and name-final sounds, stress position, in addition to the state of the glottis. The quantitative study finds that compared to male names, female names have fewer phonemes, tend to begin with an open syllable, are more likely to be stressed in the second position, are more likely to end with a vowel or a voiceless consonant, are more likely, to begin with, a glottal stop and a trill, and are more likely to end with a vowel or a glottal fricative.
Keywords: manner of articulation, phonemes and syllables, phonological features, Saudi Arabian
Anthroponyms, stress position

Cite as:  Al Tamimi, Y.A.S., & Smith, M. (2023). Phonological Features of Saudi Arabian Anthroponyms
Arab World English Journal, 14 (1)486-501.


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Received: 12/02/2022
Accepted: 03/15/2023 
Published: 03/24/2023 

Dr. Yasser Al Tamimi received his PhD in linguistics from the University of Reading in 2002. He taught various language and linguistic courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His research interests span a broad spectrum of linguistic fields, particularly emphasizing phonetics and phonology. He is a member of the editorial boards, regionally and internationally :

Dr Michael SmithDr Michael Smith received his PhD in literary Theory, Cultural Studies, and Linguistics from Purdue University in 2014 and his MA in English Literature and Drama from Southern Illinois University in 2009. He taught many Literary and linguistic courses at Purdue University, Southern Illinois University and Alfaisal University and published many papers in these domains.