Assimilation as the Residue of AGREE




agree, assimilation, gradience, optimality theory


An Optimality Theoretic approach to assimilation is proposed where all assimilation processes result from the interaction of a single syntagmatic markedness constraint that requires sequences of sounds to AGREE in all feature specifications with a variety of faithfulness constraints that seek to IDENT input feature specifications. Assimilation or the lack of it is the residue of AGREE after satisfaction of higher ranked IDENT constraints. AGREE is analyzed as a single gradient constraint rather than a set of categorical constraints each obligating agreement in a specific feature. The study concludes that a gradient interpretation of AGREE is theoretically appropriate since it meets the general principle of economy in the structure of our language faculty and also supports the general move towards convergence rather than divergence in linguistic analysis. The outcomes of the study also prove to be practically appropriate in handling various assimilation processes from different languages.

Author Biography

Khaled Hasan Abu-Abbas, Jordan University of Science and Technology

 (Associate Professor)

Department of English for Applied Studies

Jordan University of Science and Technology

Mobile Number: +962795205829


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Date of Publication

2023-10-05 — Updated on 2024-01-02

How to Cite

Abu-Abbas, K. H. (2024). Assimilation as the Residue of AGREE. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies, 24(1), 73–94.



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