Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity


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However, the survival of an upper-Egyptian dialect amidst all the pressure from a highly centralised Egypt for all Egyptians to speak Cairene Arabic is indeed worth investigating. The survival of a dialect which may be less prestigious but which carries its own 'covert prestige' cf. Trudgill will be discussed in detail in Chapter 3 of this book. I recall that throughout my childhood in Egypt I was fascinated and con- fused by the way women were addressed. We were living in the second floor of an eight-storey building. The reason why one neighbour maintained her first name although she still had sons and another lost it is still beyond me.

But it also shows that the linguistic situation of the Arab world, especially that per- taining to women, is complicated, as will be made clear in Chapter 4. Therefore, in this section I will explain what sociolinguistics is and why Arabic is important. I will start with the latter.

Native speakers of Arabic total about million. Arabic has always been important to western linguists. However, Arabic vari- ationist sociolinguistics flourished after Ferguson's article about diglossia in In this article, he drew the distinction between the standard language and the different vernaculars of each Arab country. Suleiman l. This has been dated to AD - recent by the standards of Semitic languages.

In the next paragraphs I will define the term sociolinguistics and the main themes that sociolinguists are concerned with as well as the tasks of sociolin- guists. I will briefly touch on the problems of terminology in the field. After that I will highlight the contents of this book as well as the limitations of this work. The last section is devoted to the organisation of the book. There are two kinds of linguistic analysts: those concerned with universals and what languages have in common, and those who look for differences between individuals in relation to a community of speakers.

The former are theoretical linguists and the latter are sociolinguists Shuy According to Gumperz and Hymes 1 theoretical linguists analyse linguistic competence while sociolinguists analyse communicative competence. Communicative competence is defined by Gumperz as the ability of the individual to 'select from the totality of grammatically correct expressions available to him, forms which appropriately reflect the social norms governing behaviour in specific encounters' Sociolinguistics, according to Crystal , is 'the study of the inter- action between language and the structures and functioning of society' The field of sociolinguistics has developed vastly within the last fifty years cf.

Paulston and Tucker Now the field 'examines in depth more minute aspects of language in social context' Shuy 5. According to Hymes 30 , 'diversity of speech has been singled out as the hallmark of sociolinguistics' Sociolinguistics entails relations other than social and grammatical structures that can be studied qualitatively.

Sociolinguists all agree that no normal person and no normal community is limited to a single way of speaking, nor to unchanging monotony that would preclude indication of respect, insolence, mock seriousness, humour, role distance etc. In studying responses language users have to instances of language use, they demonstrate the reality and power of affective, cognitive and behavioural language attitudes. In analysing how language users create links between language varieties and users, institutions, or contexts, they uncover language ideologies that create social realities.

These are only some of the things that sociolinguists are concerned with. The list is indeed very long. This may be because, as Labov puts it, it is a field that depended to a large extent on the development of technology. According to Labov nothing could be achieved until the field developed a clearer way of presenting phonological structure, which required the development of tape recorders, spectrograms, sampling procedures, and computers to process large quantities of data in Shuy 5.

However, such a claim is only true for variationist sociolinguists, not the many who have studied language policy, code-switching and language ideology. The interest in the differences in ways people speak is very old, and Arabic linguistics as a field may be traced back to Khatil ibn Ahmad d. Bohas et al. Khalil ibn Ahmad was an Arab philologist who compiled the first Arabic dictionary and is cred- ited with the formulation of the rules of Arabic prosody. In fact, at the beginning of the twentieth century, there was a great inter- est in dialectology see Chapter 5.

Linguists of the colonising powers started becoming interested in the dialects and the linguistic situations of the colo- nised countries. Because of the existence of colonies for countries like France, the UK, the Netherlands and Portugal, linguists started describing multilin- gual situations, language contact and creolisation cf. Whiteley ; Houis However, until , the term 'sociolinguistics' was not listed in the Webster new international dictionary Shuy Issues of terminology are not entirely resolved even now cf.

Shuy How do we define a community? What is a social class? What is the difference between code-switching and borrowing?

New Trends in Arabic Sociolinguistics:: Special Issue :: Science Publishing Group

Or even questions related purely to Arabic, like: what is educated spoken Arabic? Is there a pure Standard Arabic? These are not easy questions to answer. To give an example of such problems of defining terms, the variationist linguist Labov objected to the term 'sociolinguistics' as early as Or should it be called language and culture, sociology of language, or language and behaviour? It is sociolin- guistics that has helped us understand each other more as well as acknowledge differences and similarities between us and others - whoever this 'us' is and 'others' are. It discusses trends in research on diglossia, code-switching, gendered discourse, language variation and change, and language policies in relation to Arabic.

In doing so, it introduces and evaluates the various theo- retical approaches, and illustrates the usefulness and the limitations of these approaches with empirical data. Note that a significant number of the theo- retical approaches introduced are based on or inspired by western, especially Anglo-American work, on sociolinguistics. The reasons for this will be dis- cussed in detail in the next section. The book aims to show how sociolinguistic theories can be applied to Arabic, and conversely, what the study of Arabic can contribute to our understanding of the function of language in society.

This book addresses both students and researchers of Arabic and linguis- tics. The book will not require any knowledge of Arabic, nor will it focus nar- rowly on a single Arabic dialect, or a single group of Arabic dialects; instead, it summarises the present state of research on Arabic in its various forms. The book, also, does not require knowledge of sociolinguistics or linguistics, though knowledge of both is of course an asset in reading this work.

Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity

There are inevitably crucial topics that cannot be covered in this book but that definitely need to be addressed. Thus, pidginisation and creolisation, though mentioned in passing in this book, deserve a book by themselves, although studies in the topic are still developing cf. Versteegh Also, with the large number of Arab immigrants in different parts of the Arab world, one has to acknowledge the unique and interesting status of Arabic in the diaspora cf.

Rouchdy Finally, Arabic as a minority language in dif- ferent parts of the world is again a topic of interest and has been discussed by Versteegh and Owens One problem that I encountered in writing this book is dividing it into chapters. This has sometimes been done forcibly, since language variation and change are related to gender, and gender is related to politics, while politics is related to diglossia, and diglossia is related to code-switching. Each chapter starts with a discussion of classic work conducted on the west and then moves on to the Arab world. This is not because I believe that work conducted on the Arab world is subordinate to work conducted on the west but because of other reasons.

First, a great number of works published in the western world about the Arab world adopt the classic theories that I discuss, even though these theories were applied first in the west. This is not wrong in any way as long as theories are modified and adjusted to explain the situation in the Arab world. Second, the aim of the book is to help scholars and students to begin thinking about how and why matters of language in the Arab world are not always like matters of language in the west.

This cannot be done unless I shed light on the essential theories of western linguists.

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Lastly, as a matter of practicality, since the book does not assume prior knowledge of linguistics or Arabic, as was said earlier, although knowledge of both is an asset, it is necessary to familiarise the reader with the groundbreaking research in the west before discussing the Arab world. The book is divided into five chapters. The first chapter presents a bird's- eye view of the linguistic status quo of the Arab world. This is achieved by introducing the reader first to the diglossic situation in the Arab world and its implications, then to the different approaches to the grouping of dialects in the Arab world.

The second chapter examines diglossic switching and code-switching as a single phenomenon. In this chapter I give an overview of theories of code- switching that concentrate on assigning structural constraints on switch- ing, thus answering the question of how switching occurs, and theories that examine the motivations for switching - why people switch.

The chapter refers to studies done by a number of linguists as well as two studies con- ducted by myself. In Chapter 3, 1 highlight three crucial theories in examining variation: the social class theory, the social networks theory and the third wave approach to variation studies. I first shed light on methods used in quantitative variation research and problems related to them. Then I concentrate on specific vari- ables that trigger language variation and change, and finally I discuss diglossia and levelling.

I also examine the speech of educated women in Egypt in this chapter and how they at times challenge the gender universals. The final chapter deals with the relation between language policies and poli- tics in the Arab world. The status of Arabic and foreign languages in the education system of countries in the Arab world is highlighted. Linguistic rights are also discussed. What I try to do throughout is to provide empirical data from my own research, in addition to data from other studies, to help explain the phenom- ena discussed.

Thus there is in most chapters a section on data analysis. When discussing Arabic sociolinguistics, Owens mentions that studies may still lack the feel of a coherent entity, and his explanation for this is as follows: 'Arabic covers sociolinguistic landscapes whose only coherency at times appears to be the almost accidental fact that the language used in each part happens to be Arabic' Owens Indeed, writing a book about Arabic sociolinguistics is a challenging task.

Arabic sociolinguistics has proven to be a vast field and one that has not yet been completely discovered. It is therefore unavoidable that there has to be a selection and focus on particular issues, topics and studies and not others. NOTES 1. The phrase is spoken in colloquial Egyptian Arabic.

Diglossia (English)- Sociolinguistics

Still, it is not clear Egyptians mean col- loquial Egyptian by 'Arabic'. It is worth mentioning that there is still a large amount of work done on issues of language policy and planning, descriptions of linguistic situations in various countries, Arabisation, debates about the proper role of second or foreign languages, and corpus planning, especially technical vocabulary. These issues will be discussed in Chapter 5. It is noteworthy, however, that Labov's objections to the term at the time were of a differ- ent nature.

He did not want a hyphenated label for what he did; in other words, he did not want to be marginalised by a label in just the way that sociolinguists has been for some time, especially in the USA. He did not change. He still has two tongues in his mouth, two hearts in his chest. A tongue that speaks for him and a tongue that speaks against him. A heart that speaks for him and a heart that speaks against him. When he speaks sincerely his words are in colloquial. A colloquial that was the only variety he knew and used in narration before. But once he starts speaking what they dictate to him, then he speaks in the language of books, and his words become comic!

Perhaps it also reflects the tension that exists in all Arab countries, where people speak one language variety at home and learn a different one in school, write in one language and express their feelings in another, memorise poetry in one language and sing songs in another. Whether doing this is practical or not is a moot point.

However, as a linguist, one knows that most linguists would agree that whenever one has more than one language or variety at one's disposal, it is indeed a good thing. Muhra, Mustafa's ex-wife, summarises the dilemma of the Arab world neatly when she says that Mustafa still has 'two tongues in his mouth, two hearts in his chest' What this means exactly is that Mustafa, like all Egyptians and all Arabs, lives in a diglossic community.

Diglossia is what I would like to discuss in the first part of this chapter. However, note that the focus in this chapter is the linguistic facts. In section 1. Finally I give concrete examples of different dialects in the Arab world and compare and contrast them in real contexts sections 1. The official language is usually MSA 2 but there is usually at least one prestigious vernacular that is spoken in each country. Ferguson []: According to Ferguson, diglossia is a different situation from one where there are merely different dialects within a speech community.

In diglossic com- munities there is a highly valued H high variety which is learned in schools and is not used for ordinary conversations. That is to say, no one speaks the H variety natively. The L low variety is the one used in conversations. According to him, diglossia is a relatively stable phenomenon. Ferguson implies that if a society is changing and diglossia is beginning to fade away this will have specific signs: mixing between the forms of H and L, and thus an overlap between the functions of H and L Ferguson []: According to him, the following are situations in which H is appropriate: 1.

Sermon in church or mosque 2. Speech in parliament, political speech 3. Personal letters 4. University lecture 5. News broadcast 6. Newspaper editorial, news story, caption on picture 7. Poetry He also gives situations in which L is the 'only' variety used: 1. Instructions to servants, waiters, workmen and clerks 2.

Conversation with family, friends and colleagues 3. Radio soap opera 4. Caption on political cartoon 5. Folk literature Ferguson's definition has been criticised and discussed extensively even by Ferguson himself Ferguson [] , although it is only fair at that stage to note that he was describing a general linguistic situation; he did not set out to describe Arabic diglossia as language standardisation.

He was describing diglossia cross-linguistically as it relates to issues of standardisation. He, as he acknowledged, was giving an idealised picture of the situation. Questions that arose from his definition of diglossia are summarised below. How far apart or how close together should the H and L be for a language situation to be called 'diglossia'? This question was posed by Fasold 50ff , who claimed that there are no absolute measures that could specify the distance between H and L in a diglossic community. Britto , considered the same question and argued that H and L must be 'optimally' distant, as in Arabic, but not 'super-optimally', as with Spanish and Guararu, or 'sub-optimally', as with formal-informal styles in English.

Ferguson spoke only about a distinction between H and L, without distinguishing the two different kinds of H such as exist in the Arab world, where there is a distinction between CA and MSA, although one has to note that this distinction is a western invention and does not cor- respond to any Arabic term, as will be clear in this chapter. The main differences between both are stylistic and lexical rather than grammatical. However, she posits that the journalistic style of MSA has more flexible word order, coinage of neologisms and loan translations from western languages.

For example, journalistic-style MSA uses the ida:fa construction genitive 'of construc- tion' to create neologisms for compound words or complex concepts. MSA is characterised by having a simpler syntactic structure, by being differ- ent in lexicon because of modern technology, and by being stylistically differ- ent due to translations from other languages and the influence of bilingualism.

However, these differences were not taken into account by Ferguson. What happens in countries where more than one language is in everyday use, such as in Tunisia, where some people are also fluent in French? In such coun- tries the term 'diglossia' is too narrow for the type of situation which exists. How much switching can there be between H and L? Ferguson considered only to a very limited extent the fact that there can be switching between both varieties H and L in the same stretch of discourse.

Again, this is because he did not set out to reflect the realistic situation in Arab countries but rather to give an idealised picture of diglossia. A number of more recent studies have examined switching between H and L in Arabic, some of which will be mentioned in Chapter 2. Furthermore, Ferguson did not really discuss the sociolinguistic significance of the competing varieties.

He did not propose that social factors may have a part to play in the negotiation of choice of variety in a diglossic community in specific sets of circumstances. This may be because, as he said himself, social factors of this kind were not in fashion at the time the paper was written. They were not considered 'true science' []: Instead, Ferguson placed much emphasis on the 'external situation' in determining language choice. He claimed that in certain set situations H is appropriate, while in others L is appropriate, without taking account of the possible significance of the individual in negotiating or deliberately subverting 'socially agreed' patterns of language choice and ultimately changing them.

Having reviewed these recent reformulations and revisions to his general theory, let us now briefly review the contributions Ferguson made to the study of Arabic diglossia. The following is an anecdote narrated by Ferguson Ferguson says that he was once discussing with some Arab scholars a way of teaching foreigners Arabic - whether it is more useful to teach them MSA or one of the vernaculars used in the Arab world, like ECA, for example.

One distinguished scholar said immediately that there was no need to teach them any kind of Arabic except MSA. The professor then claimed that he himself only used 'the correct kind of Arabic' meaning MSA. Then the phone rang, and the distinguished scholar went to answer the phone. When the man came back, Ferguson could not help commenting 'You said you never use a kind of dialect Arabic. The scholar's reply was, 'Oh, I was just speaking to my wife.

Note also that the professor thought it acceptable to use dialect with his wife a person who is close and famil- iar and that this fact did not invalidate his statement that he 'never used dialect' This example shows one role played by the vernacular in the Arab world, which is that of signalling a relationship of intimacy. Gumperz discusses the role of code-switching as a means of creating solidarity see Chapter 2.

After Ferguson's article, linguists tried to refine his concept by proposing intermediate levels, but still these intermediate levels cannot be understood unless one presupposes the existence of two 'poles', H and L. It may be that 'pure H' or 'pure L' does not occur very often, and that there are usually elements of both varieties in any stretch of normal speech, but still one has to consider a hypothetical pure H or L in order to presuppose that there are elements that occur from one or the other in a stretch of discourse.

Ferguson himself did, in fact, recognise the existence of intermediate levels, but insisted that they cannot be described except within the framework of H and L: I recognised the existence of intermediate forms and mentioned them briefly in the article, but I felt then and still feel that in the diglossia case the analyst finds two poles in terms of which the intermediate varieties can be described, there is no third pole. In so doing, he encouraged us to examine with care specific varieties and specific sets of linguistic practices as ways of better understanding the sociolinguistic processes found across speech communities that at first glance might appear quite disparate.

Note also that Fishman in line with Ferguson identified specific domains to define diglossia. For example, speech events can fall under differ- ent domains, like a baseball conversation and an electrical engineering lecture. The major domains he identifies are family, friendship, religion, education and employment see also Myers-Scotton He also claims that these speech events are speech-community specific.

Let us now examine models of diglossia which sought to refine and improve on Ferguson's ideas. Thus, they recognised that people shift between H and L, especially when speaking, but often they do not shift the whole way, resulting in levels which are neither fully H nor fully L. Blanc, basing his analysis on a tape recording of cross-dialectal conversa- tion, distinguished between five varieties 85 : classical, modified classical, semi-literary or elevated colloquial, koineised colloquial, and plain colloquial.

Meiseles distinguished between four varieties: literary Arabic or stand- ard Arabic, oral literary Arabic, educated spoken Arabic and plain vernacular. His classification is both more crucial and more problematic than the other two, because his labelling of varieties implies both a stylistic and a social hierarchy.

Badawi tries to explain which levels of the spoken language are typical of which types of speaker and which type of situation in Egypt. It is a written language, but is heard in its spoken form on religious programmes on TV 2. It is used in news bulletins, for example. It is usually read aloud from texts and, if the speaker is highly skilled, may also be used in the commentary to the text.

It is used by 'cultured' i. It is also often the language used in formal teach- ing in Egyptian universities, and it is becoming the means of educating students and discussing with them different topics. In other words, it is becoming the medium of instruction in Egyptian classrooms. Ta:mmiyyat al-mutanawmri:n 'colloquial of the basically educated': This is the everyday language that people educated to a basic level but not university level use with family and friends, and may occur on TV in a discussion of sport or fashion and other 'non-intellectual' topics.

Cultured and well-educated people also use it when talking in a relaxed fashion about non-serious topics. On TV, it occurs only in the mouths of certain charac- ters in soap operas, children's shows and comic situations. Illiterates and the less well-educated, however, may find it difficult to shift as much, since they control only one or two levels with confidence.

It is noteworthy that, when he defines different levels, Badawi uses sociolin- guistic factors like education. Using education as a criterion can be considered a problem in his description. It is not clear whether the colloquial levels are built on socioeconomic variables like education or are just 'stylistic registers', or whether they can be both. It is worth mentioning here that Blanc acknowledges the existence of 'gradual transitions between the various registers', while Badawi 95 says that these five levels do not have clear, permanent boundaries between one another, but rather fade into one another like the colours in a rainbow.

Therefore instead of five, one could theoretically propose an infinite number of levels. Even in the three levels which Badawi defines as 'colloquial', there are no variants which are exclusively allocated to any one of the three. It is always a question of 'more or less', with no clear dividing lines between the levels. According to him, ESA 10 is not a separate variety but is 'created' and 'maintained' by the interaction between the written language and the vernacular.

First, in the modern world, educated men and women tend to con- verse on topics beyond the scope of a given regional vernacular. Second, educated people want to 'share and commune' with other Arabs of similar educational background. They want to promote forms that are required to meet the pressures of modernisation, urbanisation, industrialisation, mass education and internationalism 8. Therefore, Arabs need a shared means of communication, and this is inevitably influenced by what they all have in common: a knowledge of the structure and vocabulary of MSA.

This does not mean, however, that they switch to 'oral MSA', but that they switch to a form of language which contains shared vernacular elements as well as MSA. The idea of a shared ESA is important because it is concerned not just with the way people from the immediate community communicate, but with the way different Arabs from different communities communicate across com- munity boundaries.

Compare the following similar definition of ESA from Meiseles : It is the current informal language used among educated Arabs, fulfilling in general their daily language needs. It is also the main means of Arabic interdialectal communication, one of its most important trends being its intercomprehensibility among speakers of different vernaculars, arising mainly from the speaker's incentive to share a common language with his interlocutor or interlocutors.

For example, in MSA dual number is marked throughout: in demonstratives, verbs, nouns, pronouns and adjectives. In ESA, according to Mitchell, it is marked only in the nouns and adjectives. These are replaced in ESA by other forms used in colloquial varieties with some differences between the regions. The idea of ESA acknowledges the possibility of switching between the vernacular and MSA without assuming anything about intermediate styles.

In that sense it is more inclusive and promising as a heuristic device than the concept of levels. Moreover, ESA tries to account for how Arabs from differ- ent countries manage to communicate together, rather than focusing on Arabs in a specific country. The idea that different Arabs from different communi- ties modify their language when they speak together is worthy of attention since it is presumably a rule-governed, not a random, process.

However, the idea of ESA poses a number of questions about the nature of the synchronic relationship between MSA and the different vernaculars. First, the term 'educated Arabs' seems vague.

Second, if it is still difficult for linguists to agree about the different levels used even in a single community, how much more difficult could it be to try to describe what the rules are for inter-communal communication? In my view, one has to try to describe the situation in specific countries first. Merely claiming that ESA exists does not help in applying the concept to the language situation in a particular country, since Mitchell did not manage to give a comprehensive description of how ESA works: that is, of exactly what people do when they switch between MSA and their vernacular.

Parkinson also argued that although ESA is sup- posed to be rule-governed, there are no clear rules that describe it. He claims that "Educated spoken Arabic may not actually be anything" The following is Nielsen's criticism of ESA: ESA is a mixed variety which is very badly codified apart from very few studies for example Eid , no research has established what kind of rules actually govern this mixing, nor do we know whether or not such rules are subject to generalisations.

This is not to say that native speakers do not know how to mix; but we have no reliable information establishing that the mixing is not a phenomenon heavily influenced, say, by personal or regional factors. One also needs to know whether there are discourse functions of ESA which govern its occurrence, and whether these functions differ from country to country. In the next sections I concentrate on national varieties. However, before I list the groups of dialects or varieties in the Arab world, I want to clarify the distinction between a prestige variety and a standard one.

According to Ibrahim , 'the identification of H as both the stand- ard and the prestigious variety at one and the same time has led to problems of interpreting data and findings from Arabic sociolinguistic research' This identification is the result of applying western research to the Arab world, without noting the different linguistic situation. In research in western speech communities, researchers have generally been able to assume that the stand- ardised variety of a language, the one that has undergone the conscious process of standardisation, is also the variety accorded the most overt prestige.

Many studies have shown that for most speakers, there is a prestige variety of L, the identity of which depends on many geographical, political and social factors within each country, and which may in certain circumstances influence speech. In Egypt, for non-Cairenes, it is the prestige variety of Egyptian Arabic Cairene; for Jordanian women from Bedouin or rural backgrounds, on the other hand, it may be the urban dialects of the big cities Abdel-Jawad 1 In a diachronic study conducted by Palva , materials from Arabic dialects spoken, recorded and collected since in the Levant, Yemen, Egypt and Iraq were compared.

Palva examined the occurrence of phonologi- cal, morphological and lexical items in the dialects over a period of time. He found that certain dialectal variants gradually become more dominant than the 'standard' variants. For example, the glottal realisation? Holes a, b discusses the influence of MSA on two Bahraini dialects from a phonological and lexical viewpoint. Amongst other observations, he shows that the degree of influence of MSA on the speech of educated Bahrainis is dependent on the social status of the speakers.

The socially prestigious Sunni speakers are not influenced much by the standard, while the speech of the low-status Shiite speakers is relatively more influenced by the standard a: Abu-Haidar , in her study of the Muslim and the Christian dialects of Baghdad, posits that: Apart from MSA the H variety for all Baghdadis , CB speakers [Christian Baghdadi] use their own dialect as a L variety in informal situations at home and with in-group members, while they use MB [Muslim Baghdadi] as another H variety in more formal situations with non-Christians.

The reasons for its influence are various, but principal among them are factors like the socioeconomic dominance of the city over the countryside e. Cairo or the influence of a ruling political group e. The dialects of these entities become a symbol of their power and exercise a potent influence over those who come into contact with them or have to interact with speakers of these dialects. This sociolinguistic variation between different varieties will be discussed in detail in Chapter 3.

I also discuss different approaches of classifying dialects in the Arab world. One can use a synchronic approach classification, which is made by measuring and selecting salient linguistic variables for each dialect or group of dialects Palva This is the classification that will be adopted in section 1.

On the other hand, one can also use a sociological, anthropological and historical approach which takes into consideration the division between Bedouin and sedentary dialects in the Arab world Palva The division in terms of Bedouin and sedentary reflects the historical settlements in the area as well as the language shift and change that have been taking place. Sedentary dia- lects could be further divided into rural and urban. Cities in the Arab world do not necessarily speak an urban dialect. In fact in a number of cities in the Arab world speakers speak a Bedouin dialect, and in other cities the Bedouin dialect is more prestigious than the sedentary one see Chapter 3.

Bedouin and sedentary dialects can be distinguished mainly by comparing and contrasting the realisation of phonological variables in both. However, morpho-syntactic variables as well as lexical ones are also significant. The realisation of the MSA phonological variable q as g has been a major criterion in distinguishing between Bedouin and sedentary dialects.

According to Palva, 'Bedouin dialects have retained more morpho-phonemic categories than the sedentary dialects' An example of this is the use of the indefinite marker in tanm:n as in kita:bin book as opposed to the sedentary realisa- tion kita:b cf. Palva for detailed examples of differences between Bedouin and sedentary dialects, and Versteegh 1 for a historical discussion of dialects. Edalacts of tha Arabian paninsula, which arc spoken in Saudi Arabia andtha Gulf araa 2. MasopotarniandialactSj which ara spokan in Iraq 3. Thara ara, howavar. Holas Varstaagh In all tha fiva groups of dialacts, tha MSA glottal stop disappears.

For aismpla, tha MSA ra? Varstaagh : Likawisa tha ganitiva casa intha possassiva con- struction is raplacad by an analytical possassiva construction. In Lavantina it will ba U-fslam tabs? Nota that tha Map 1. Versteegh 98 comments on the range of variability across regional dialects by positing that, 'It is fair to say that the linguistic distance between the dialects is as large as that between the Germanic languages and the Romance languages, includ- ing Romanian, if not larger.

However, it still alludes to the extent of differences between dialects. Perhaps because of these differences between dialects, Arab governments are in general still keen on promoting Standard Arabic SA as their official language rather than the various vernaculars; this promotion of SA as the offi- cial language will be examined in detail in Chapter 5. I want to illustrate some differences between the different vernaculars for countries in the Arab world by giving a detailed concrete example. I will choose five vernaculars that belong to the five groups discussed above.

Note that I choose one dialect within Egypt, Cairene Arabic, and one dialect within Lebanon, the dialect of Beirut and so on and so forth. Thus, the exam- ples do not represent the whole spectrum of dialects within each country but only give an example of the kind of differences that exist between different national vernaculars. However, before starting to compare and contrast the differences, one first has to show the MSA counterpart. When I went to the library I only found this old book. I wanted to read a book about the history of women in France. The root is 'a series of typically three consonants, always occurring in a fixed sequence that has lexical identity' McCarus For example, the root k-t-b means to write; writing and so on and so forth.

The word maktaba, which ocurs in the examples and means 'library', is derived from this root. Pattern is defined by McCarus as 'a fixed framework of consonants and vowels that likewise has lexical meaning' McCarus gives the example of the pattern tnaJTal, which denotes a noun of place. Although the root can change, the ma- and the vowel a before the consonant are obligatory. An example of this pattern is maktab, derived from the root k-t-b discussed above, and meaning 'office' Maktaba also follows this pattern.

This is worth mentioning because it will show the similarities and differences between the dialects and also explain why it is sometimes easy and at other times difficult to comprehend the different dialects for different natives of Arabic. Now I will compare and contrast each clause in detail. The verb is lexically the same but phonologically different in some varieties.

The phonological realisation of the definite article and noun 'to read' is also different in all five varieties. The MSA q of l-qira:? The adverb 'when' is lexically different in most varieties.

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The problem of the different usage of prepositions between varieties is very clear. The preposition 'to' is realised differently in four varieties. Also the verb 'to go' is lexically different in all varieties from MSA. It is also phonologically different in all varieties. Once more, phonological differences are prominent in the realisation of the noun 'library' with the definite article.

The use of the jussive here is mandatory after the negative particle lam. The person is marked by the prefix? In the perfect form the person is marked by the suffix -t. MSA uses the imperfect, while all the varieties use the perfect. Most of the other dialects use ma- only. The MSA demonstrative ha:8a: is phonologically different in all the five vernaculars. In fact ECA is structurally different from all other varieties in that the demonstrative occurs after rather than before the noun it modifies.

In ICA it is also lexically different. In fact, it is a different lexical item in five varieties and only ICA shares the same lexical item with MSA, but there are still phonological differences between the two. Note that MSA alone requires a complementiser with this verb. The preposition 'in' is realised differently in different dialects.

ECA has a lexically different item for 'woman' from the other four varieties. There are morpho- logical differences between TCA realisation of the first person and all the other varieties. Phonological differences are still apparent. It is noteworthy, however, that in some cases the lexical differences are not very difficult to reconcile. In MSA the verb Pahabba means 'to love'. This indeed poses the question of whether, with no knowledge of MSA at all and with knowledge of only one dialect, the one a person speaks natively, it would still be possible for people from Tunisia to understand, for example, people from Egypt or the Gulf.

Using the same example, I want to show the differences between two Germanic languages: German and Dutch. Toen ik naar de bibliotheek ging, vond ik slechts dit oude boek, hoewel ik een boek over vrouwengeschiedenis in Frankrijk had rvillen lezen. As one can see from this example, even without knowledge of German or Dutch, the differences are similar to differences between the different vernac- ulars examined above.

The examples make one wonder about the differences between different languages and different varieties and whether terms like 'language' and 'variety' are not political terms rather than linguistic ones. In this section I wanted to give examples of the different groups of varie- ties in the Arab world. The question of whether people switch between their variety and MSA will be dealt with in more detail in the next chapter. The complex- ity of the situation arises from the fact that native speakers of Arabic do not distinguish between MSA and CA.

For them there is only one SA, as was said earlier. In addition, they also use the term 'Arabic' to refer to the standard lan- guage and the colloquials of different countries, the national varieties. In these matters native speakers and linguists can disagree. Left to their own devices, linguists could claim each of the national varieties as a separate, distinct lan- guage. Speakers of Arabic are aware of a larger entity that somehow unites them: SA.


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The H variety of diglossia, SA, provides educated individuals with some of the tools they need to understand other varieties. Examples of diglossic switching are given not in this chapter but in the next one. It is important to mention at that stage that native speakers and constitutions in Arab coun- tries do not specify what 'Arabic' refers to, but it is usually MSA.

For them there is only one kind of Standard Arabic, which is called 'jusha:' 3. Note that this H and L labelling reflects, first, language attitudes among users and, second, the superposed nature of the H. Likewise, it is worth mentioning that sociolinguists may feel discomfort with these labels, since clear covert prestige attaches so strongly to the L and since the L has sometimes been the target of attempts in Egypt and Lebanon, among others, to be considered the national variety.

This issue of territorial nationalism as opposed to pan-Arabism will be dealt with in detail in Chapter 5. Fishman defines diglossia slightly di fferently from Ferguson. For Fishman, a diglos- sic situation is one in which the roles of both varieties are kept separate; there are clear group boundaries between both languages or varieties.

The access to the H variety or language is usually restricted to an outsider. He gives the example of pre-World War I European elites who spoke French or another H language or variety, while the masses spoke a different and not necessarily related language or variety. In his definition the H variety or language is a spoken standard, while in Arabic it is not the spoken variety of any country. The question of how different the two varieties should be was perhaps not the main issue for Ferguson, who was more interested in the conditions which could give rise to diglossia in the first place.

The word means literally 'what is your colour? Gumperz is mentioned here, although he did not discuss diglossia in the Arab world, because his concepts of the discourse functions of code-switching will be applied to diglos- sic switching in Chapter 2, and diglossic switching and code-switching will be studied within the same framework.

I assume that the overlap between H and L existed even at the time when Ferguson wrote his article , since Arabic, as any other language, is dynamic rather than static and unchanging. Walters a , posits that the linguistic situation in the Arab world has always been in a state of change. In Egyptian soap operas almost all characters, even the educated ones, speak in ECA. Only in defined situations, like that of a lawyer in a courtroom, would a speaker use MSA or switch to any of the levels mentioned by Badawi.

This has been the case since the beginning of the soap opera market in Egypt in the s. The idea of ESA started to take shape with the Leeds project in , which 'comprises unscripted, unprepared conversations and discussions based on a wide range of inter- personal relationships' El-Hassan ; see also Mejdell for a full discussion of ESA. Note also that the data concentrated on educated speakers in Egypt and the Levant specifically.

The H variety and MS A are in many ways associated with writing and the written language, including the reading aloud of written texts. The words 'dialects' and 'varieties' will be used interchangeably throughout this chapter. The MSA example does not always include case and mood endings; it is, rather, the way it would have been spoken by a native speaker, and I am interested in the oral performance of this utterance. It is an accurate reflection of a duality that exists in all of us, a duality between our mundane daily life and our spiritual one.

He does not think that duality or bilingualism in general is an impairment. He echoes what Myers-Scotton discusses in her book Social motivations for code switching She refers to code-switching as part of the 'communicative competence' of a speaker, which is the competence that individuals acquire from their community and which enables them to com- municate effectively with other members of their community.

This will be discussed in detail below. Note that Mahfuz does not limit 'language duality' to a diglossic community or a bilingual one. In this chapter I will discuss code choice and code-switching, whether this code is a variety or a language. After an introduction and discussion of terminology sections 2. The first part section 2. I discuss structural constraints on code-switching by examining different theories that can be applied to Arabic.

I then provide a case study from my work on structural constraints on diglos- sic switching as part of code-switching 2. The second part section 2. The first subsection will concentrate on classic code- switching 2. Again at the end of this section I provide a case study of motivations for diglossic switching from my own work 2. In fact, in the Arab world switching between Arabic and a foreign language has been called by one Arab writer, according to Suleiman , 'linguistic prostitution' It can also be considered a form of 'colonial penetration'.

Before the classic article by Blom and Gumperz on code-switching between dialects of Norwegian in Hemnesberget a Norwegian fishing town , code-switching was considered part of the performance of the imperfect bilingual who could not carry on a conver- sation in one language in different situations Myers-Scotton When bilinguals are asked why they switch codes, they usually claim that they do so to fill in lexical gaps, i. They may also claim that they do not have a certain word to express their feelings in one of the codes they have mastered, so they have to switch.

But this is not always true, because bilinguals can switch between a word from one code and an equivalent from another with exactly the same meaning. And when they switch consistently, they usually do so for a specific purpose Romaine If we approach code-switching as a discourse-related phenomenon, then we have to assume that it has sociolinguistic motivations. These motivations cannot be under- stood in terms of syntactic constraints only, although syntactic constraints are still crucial in that they govern where switching might take place.

The term 'code-switching' can be very broad or very narrow, as are all terms in sociolinguistics. It is noteworthy, however, that what Myers-Scotton calls code-switching does not apply just to switching between different languages, but also to switching between varieties of the same language. Therefore, according to her theory, diglossic switching is a kind of code-switching. Arguing from a similar perspective, Gumperz defines code-switching as 'the juxtaposition within the same speech exchange of passages of speech belong- ing to two different grammatical systems or subsystems' a: He also does not restrict code-switching to switching between different languages.

It is more precise to use the term 'code' rather than the terms 'language' or 'variety' However, there is still a problem of terminology that needs to be addressed in the next section. Code-switching usually has a discourse function, and is defined as a phenomenon where 'sections in one code are followed by sections in another one in the same conversation'. She adds that code-switch- ing affects most linguistic levels, syntactic, morphological, phonological and lexical. Code-mixing, on the other hand, is defined as 'the mixing of different varieties within a single utterance or even within a single word' Code-mixing, according to her, does not have to affect all linguistic levels.

Although Mazraani's distinction may be useful within her framework, I think her definitions are still on the vague side. She does not provide a clear definition of the terms 'sections' and 'utterance' One cannot be sure what the borderline is for a section or an utterance. However, other linguists like Myers-Scotton 24 do not distinguish between code-switching and code-mixing and regard this distinction as creating 'unnecessary confusion'. Myers-Scotton states that: A number of researchers associated with Braj Kachru [.

While I grant that intrasentential CS puts different psycholinguistic 'stresses' on the language-production system from intersentential code switching CS a valid reason to differentiate the two , the two types of CS may have similar socio-psychological motivations. For this reason, I prefer 'CS' as a cover term; the two types can be differentiated by the labels 'intersentential' and 'intrasentential' when structural constraints are considered. I think that it would be difficult if not impossible to consider code-switching and code-mixing two separate processes.

The definition of code-switching by dif- ferent linguists renders the term very inclusive and general see the definition of Gumperz above and that of Myers-Scotton 1. Therefore, I will stick to the term 'code-switching' to cover also what Mazraani calls code-mixing. So rather than use the term 'diglossic switching' to refer to switching between MSA and the dif- ferent vernaculars, one can use the term 'code-switching' for that purpose. I will also provide examples of switching that involves differ- ent Arabic dialects.

Linguists concentrating on the Arab world have tended to focus on the syntactic constraints on code-switching rather than the moti- vations for switching. Also, switching between North African dialects and European languages has been studied extensively, as will become clear below. Although Gumperz a argues that code-switching is not a random process, but that it depends more on stylistic and metaphorical factors than on grammatical restrictions, some linguists Sankoff and Poplack ; DiSciullo et al.

The question is, are these constraints universal? Do they apply to all language pairs? If we believe in the idea of universal grammar, then we might expect universal grammar to impose constraints on code-switching. I will examine the following theories intro- duced by linguists to identify structural constraints on code-switching: 1.

I will then try to explain each theory and the problems associated with it in relation to Arabic and other languages. The free morpheme constraint predicts that there cannot be a code-switch between a bound morpheme and a lexical form unless the lexical form is phonologically integrated into the language of the bound morpheme. In this example, -eando is the Spanish progressive suffix.

The lexical English form flip is integral as it stands, in the phonology of Spanish. As a result, it cannot take the Spanish progressive suffix -eando. The equivalence constraint theory states that code-switching tends to occur at points where the juxtaposition of elements from the two languages does not violate a syntactic rule of either language. It will occur at points where the surface structure of the two languages is the same.

In Spanish the adjective must come after the noun, whereas in English it comes before. Moreover, Sankoff and Poplack predict possible sites for switches for pairs of languages which differ in basic word order, for example, SOV subject- object-verb and SVO subject-verb-object languages. In such cases they predict that there will be no switches between V verb and O object. Sankoff and Poplack admit, however, that sometimes switching of this type can occur where there is no structural equivalence between the languages.

But if this happens it is always accompanied by omissions, repetitions etc. The verb constituents are repeated several times. In German, unlike English, a verb governed by an auxiliary is sentence final; the auxiliary has to be separated from the main verb in declarative clauses, i. In this example, there is violation of the equivalence constraint. The two constraints theory can be applied very neatly to code-switching between Spanish and English, because both languages have, more or less, the same word order, and both have the same government categories, i.

However, it turns out that it is difficult to apply the same theory to two languages that do not share the same categories, for example, the pidgin Tok Pisin and English Romaine By submitting your manuscripts to the special issue, you are acknowledging that you accept the rules established for publication of manuscripts, including agreement to pay the Article Processing Charges for the manuscripts.

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Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity
Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity
Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity
Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity
Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity
Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity

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