The phonaesthetics of Jordanian names

Alababneh, Bara'ah (2021) The phonaesthetics of Jordanian names. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Building on the previous research on first names (Cutler et al. 1990; Crystal, 1995a, Sidhu and Pexman, 2015), this study investigates the phonological patterns of male and female first names in Jordan and examines the positive phonaesthetic features of Jordanian names. It also studies the impact of sound symbolism on the phonological differences between male and female names and the adaptation of foreign names into Jordanian Arabic (JA). This study contributes to the study of JA name phonology and brings research on sound symbolism and phonaesthetics to the study of JA names.

This study analysed the phonological structure of actual Jordanian names in terms of phonological and sound symbolism features. Phonological features included the beginning and ending sounds, type of syllables, length of names and positive phonaesthetic features, i.e. aesthetically pleasant-sounding. Sound symbolism analysis included the study of the number of bouba and kiki sounds, and the sound symbolism structure of Arabic sounds in Jordanian names. A quantitative analysis was used to test the findings and to evaluate cross-linguistic and cross-dialectal perception among rural dialect and Urban dialect speakers of JA and native English speakers using pseudonames. It also tested the hypotheses that people can predict the gender of a name based on its phonology and that they prefer names that have more gender-weighted features.

Both hypotheses were supported mainly among rural dialect speakers. The findings show that, like English names, Jordanian first female names have more sonorants and vowels than male names and tend to end in open syllables and have more positive phonaesthetic features. Findings also show that sound symbolism is a possible factor in the phonological differences between male and female names. Female names show more front vowels and weak sounds and male names show more back vowels and strong sounds but no significant impact of the bouba-kiki effect. It was also found that adaptation of foreign names into JA follows the same adaptation processes as loan words.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > English
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
P Language and Literature > PJ Afroasiatic and Sumerian languages and literatures
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2021 09:03
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:47

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