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Epenthetic vowels

Arabic is consonant-rich, and there are many complex consonant clusters. These clusters are often simplified with an epenthetic vowel. The realization of the epenthesis varies greatly from speaker to speaker. Phonetically, it is almost always an /I/, at least in Cairo. For example, the sentence ``candy faqr dam gAmid'' is pronounced /c a n d i f a q r d a m i g A m i d/ by all three of our speakers.

We chose to label these insertions explicitly in the recorded database, but not generate epenthetic units. The insertions are not required, and it was our observation that the residual effect of the epenthesis was often enough to give the illusion of simplification in the synthesized utterance.

Alan W Black 2003-10-27