The women (and men) who speak Funnyi: negotiating social meanings through palatalization of the Cairene nasal
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Recent works on palatalization in Cairene Arabic have focused on the social meanings and phonology of certain palatalized consonants in the Cairene phonetic inventory (Haeri 1996, Geenberg 2012, Watson 2007). The consonants whose social meanings have thus far been discussed in sociolinguistic works include the dental stops /t, d/ and their pharyngealized variants /tˤ, dˤ/. The coronal nasal /n/ has been noted to undergo palatalization in Cairene Arabic and its phonological conditions have been briefly mentioned (Geenberg 2012, Al-Saqqaf 1999), but no social perceptions have been examined for this palatalized variant. This paper is a preliminary attempt to acoustically describe and document the occurrences of the palatalized nasal and its relationship to the use of /t, d/ in 3 speech contexts in Cairene Arabic. It further explores the notion that palatalization of /n/ may contain iconic values that can be used strategically in conversations by its speakers to assume certain ‘expressive postures’ (Haeri 1996).