Consonant Lenition in Central Kurdish: A Generative Phonological Study


  • Twana Saadi Hamid English Department, College of Languages, University of Sulaimani, Sulaimaniya, Iraq
  • Tavan Bakhtiar Bakr English Department, School of Language and Education, Charmo University, Sulaimaniya, Iraq



Lenition, Softening, Weakening, Deletion, Debuccalization, Degemination , Spirantization


This paper looks into the phonological process of lenition in Central Kurdish and (CK henceforth). Lenition is the sound change that alters a consonant to a more sonorous one in the sonority hierarchy. It is also assumed to be a universal process in the sense that it is found in all languages. The study researched the question of what triggers lenition in languages. Moreover, different parts of speech are said to react differently in terms of lenition. However, this phonological process is not well-studied in terms of CK data. Even though CK lenition is cited in some studies, to the best of the researchers’ knowledge, none of those studies exclusively focused on lenition. Therefore, this paper tries to fill this gap in the literature of CK phonology. It also tries to examine what types of lenitions are found in CK data and what are those types that are not attested. The study has arrived to the conclusion that some types of lenitions are found in CK whereas other types are not attested: the processes of degemination, deletion, debuccalization, flapping, gliding, and voicing are present in CK. While the processes of deaspiration and spirantization are absent in CK. As far as the relation of parts of speech to lenition is concerned, it was found out that nouns are more likely to be lenited than other parts of speech. It is also found out that ease of articulation and minimizing both cognitive and physical effort trigger lenition provided that contrast is preserved between lexical items.


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How to Cite

Saadi Hamid, T. ., & Bakhtiar Bakr, T. (2023). Consonant Lenition in Central Kurdish: A Generative Phonological Study. The Scientific Journal of Cihan University– Sulaimaniya, 7(2), 254-270.



Articles Vol7 Issue2