Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

The emotive non-lexical expressions in Hijazi Arabic: A phono-semiotic study

Assaadi, Mashael 2022. The emotive non-lexical expressions in Hijazi Arabic: A phono-semiotic study. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
Item availability restricted.

[thumbnail of Assaadi Marh 2022 final version.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (18MB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Cardiff University Electronic Theses and Dissertations Publication Form] PDF (Cardiff University Electronic Theses and Dissertations Publication Form) - Supplemental Material
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (96kB)


This study investigates the non-arbitrary relationship between emotive Hijazi non-lexical expressions (NLEs) and their emotional meanings by considering them as semiotic signs. Saussure (1963) states that signs are arbitrary; their meaning is not predictable from their form. However, he allows for some exceptions, such as interjections. I illustrate that Hijazi NLEs are similar to interjections, as both of them are spontaneous expressions of reality caused by natural forces (Saussure 1963: 69). I argue that the emotive Hijazi NLEs are ‘noise-like’ non-words that constitute complete utterances and realise the speaker’s internal emotional states in specific situational contexts. I mapped the NLEs onto Shaver, Schwartz, Kirson, and O’Connor’s (2001) emotions classification schema. This provides over a hundred emotions grouped under six basic headings: love, joy, surprise, anger, sadness, and fear. My argument is that these non-verbal expressions are motivated by basic emotions and that this plays an important role in determining the meanings in the use of the emotive Hijazi NLEs. I argue that the emotive Hijazi NLEs are semiotic signs that have an interactional relationship between two orders of abstraction: the content plane (i.e. meaning) and the expression plane (i.e. phonological form) (see Halliday and Matthiessen’s (2014), Halliday’s (1978) and Hjelmslev’s (1963) theory of stratification). I show that there is a non-arbitrary interactional relationship between these orders of abstraction as their meanings are intimately associated with vocal gestures and mimicry. Furthermore, I argue that the indexical and iconic components which correspond with the mimicking of some vocal actions suggests that content and expression exist in a very tight meta-redundancy relation. The meaning of the emotive Hijazi NLEs predicts the sound expression, and the sound expression predicts their emotional meanings in specific situational contexts. In order to check that the recognition of Hijazi NLEs was stable across Hijazi society, I designed an open questionnaire to collect the meanings of these linguistic items as they occur in the Hijazi community by respondents of all ages and both genders. This showed that while there were some minor differences in recognition between genders, the meanings of the NLEs were stable across Hijazi society and the form/meaning relationship was non-arbitrary. The NLEs, in other words, functioned as semiotic resources available to the Hijazi speech community.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 April 2022
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 02:06

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics