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Lane 424 Seminar in Linguistics Arabic Sociolinguistics.

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1 Lane 424 Seminar in Linguistics Arabic Sociolinguistics

2 Arabic belongs to a group of languages collectively known as the Semitic languages. The traditional classification of Semitic languages Proto-Semitic West Semitic East Semitic North-West Semitic South-west Semitic Canaanite Aramaic (Hebrew Phoenician) Arabic South Arabian Ethiopian

3 Diglosssia Charles Ferguson is credited with first using the term diglossia in an article which he wrote in 1959 called Diglossia.

4 The contemporary linguistic situation During the 2 nd half of the 20 th c. : Gradual narrowing of the gap between spoken Arabic and arabi:ya in its contemporary form, MSA. The lexis and phraseology penetrate spoken Arabic, and less noticeably the syntactic structures common to most spoken Arabic dialects are recast into a superficially MSA form in written Arabic. The cause of this is increased education and literacy among all sections of the population. Loan translations (calques) from other languages, English and French. Ex. al- umla al-s ba hard currency

5 Regional differences in MSA (written form) Syntactically speaking MSA is homogenous across the Arabic-speaking world. There are significant and systematic differences in vocabulary that differentiate Maghreb countries from the Mashreq, eastern Arab world, e.g. nazl vs. funduq. maga:za rafi: vs. subarmarkt gila:l vs. fawa:kih Potentially misunderstandings may occur because of these differences, e.g. al-muhi:t = ocean bi?a

6 The spoken Arabic The spread of education and exposure to broadcasting media the emergence of varieties of Arabic, intermediate between pure MSA and pure dialect, a greater or lesser mixture of MSA and dialect elements, depending on the speakers perception of the formality of the context. At formal situations, speakers select a basically MSA morpho-syntactic and lexical base, but modify it morpo- phonologically in the direction of their dialect. At informal situations, speakers use their dialectal base, classicized by the insertion of MSA phraseology, lexical item and the prestige pronunciation.

7 Code switching In some circumstances, speakers may switch between colloquialized MSA and a standarized colloquial according to the demands of the context. Attempts to describe the varieties of Arabic in terms of a spectrum from the purest MSA through intermediate varieties to an uneducated plain colloquial. Badwi (1973) study of Cairene Arabic, data collected from media: 1.fusha al-turath heritage fusha 2. fusha al- asr fusha of the age (we live in) 3. a:mmiyat al-muthaqqafin dialect of the well-educated 4. a:mmiyat al- mutanawwiri:n dialect of the literate 5. a:mmiyat al- ?ummiyyi:n dialect of the illiterate

8 Two complementary processes: 1.Leveling : the elimination of very localized dialectal features in favor of more regionally general ones. 2.Standardizing: the replacement of dialectal features by standard ones beyond the level demanded by the need to ensure clear communication.

9 The interpenetration of MSA and the dialects is associated with the spread of secular government- sponsored education, reinforced by the output of the ubiquitous news and entertainment media. Education guaranteed a long and formative exposure to MSA for children at school. Long term effect of Language contact. Two way influence; MSA words may replace dialectal equivalents completely, MSA will be more open to influence from the dialect because of the concurrent use of the two varieties. The distinction between them will continue to blur.

10 The contemporary sociolinguistic situation in the Arab world is a complex one. Style shifting along the a continuum at opposite ends of pure MSA and pure regional dialect. The combining and hybridizing of the two is governed by rules, to be discovered yet. Population movement, generational differences can develop within the community or even a single extended family. Cadora (1970) Ramallah in the West Bank: ruralite features vs. urbanite, MSA features

11 The dialect of the capital city will usually carry some prestige and act as a local dialect standard in everyday but nondomestic contexts within the national domain (e.g. government offices). MSA influence will appear in a more formal but still national contexts (e.g.TV). In supranational speech contexts, national dialects may be used with some leveling and standardizing. Depending on the subject, the leveling and standardizing processes may elevate the language to the point where most local features are zeroed out and replaced by standard ones.

12 speech contexts that require pure MSA include religious programs and news bulletins. In written Arabic there is less variation, basic grammar, morphology and lexis is in theory the same for all. In practice, there is some variation: characters in literary works, comics. Written colloquial Arabic conveys association of the homely, domestic, amusing, nonserious. Okaz, F. Halawanis article bilbaladi ilfasi:h

13 Walters. K. (1996). Diglossia, Linguistic variation and Language change in Arabic The possible implications of diglossia for linguistic change. What patterns of variation are expected to be found in Arabic speech communities taking in consideration two facts: stable diglossia Social changes following modernization and economic development?

14 2. Language contact as impetus for language change Unlike structuralists including generativists who conceived language as an independent phenomena without reference to the social context, Weinreich, Labov and Hymes among others: language can not be understood apart from what their users do with them. Language is socially imbedded. Contact-induced language change, we have to consider the sociolinguistic context. Diglossia represents a prolonged and constant contact between two varieties of the same language

15 3.1The social origins of diglossia Ferguson 1959 The conditions that give rise to diglossia: 1.Sizeable body of literature in a variety related to or identical to the native variety of the community. Quran and pre-Islamic poetry 2.Literacy must be limited to an elite. Through the centuries the two varieties become increasingly dissimilar, the variety of the texts remain unchanged (codified) while the spoken variety continue to change in natural ways. Social attitudes help account for why the variety of the texts to be seen as the high (H) variety while the language of everyday life is perceived as the low (L) variety.

16 Arabic diglossia: the future Determining factors: 1. Knowledge of CA/MSA 2. The role of religion as force for language maintenance. ( to perform tasks, symbolic power) The prestige of CA as the language of the divine revelation. 3. The written standard: Islam will continue to support and mandate the use of CA for all writing. The values attached to and attitudes associated with reflect underlying assumptions about written and spoken language, largely prescriptive in nature.

17 4.Models of style The role of audience or context on diglossia Bells deviant hyperstyle variables and diglossia. Sociolinguistic studies showed a number of Patterns of variation: Social but minimal stylistic variation occur rarely and poorly understood Figure (2a).

18 Myres-Scotton model of code-switching Social motivation for code switching Members of a speech community, as part of their communicative competence (knowledge of the social values of the linguistic varieties found in the community), develop an evaluation metric for the likely social cost and social benefits of any code choice. Speakers use this knowledge to choose a particular variety or a mixture of varieties to index social relationships between participants, or rights and obligations (RO)that will obtain between participants in interaction. Through their choice, they signal a particular identity. The use of CA/MSA can index an identity associated with formal education, devotion to Islam, talent or skill as a public speaker. Marked/umarked choice, codeswitching as exploratory choice, codeswitching as marked choice, and codeswitching as sequential unmarked choice p.181

19 Her prediction: diglossic switching: the unmarked choice among educated speakers should not occur in narrow diglossic communities because of domain complementarity between the H and the L. The unmarked choice: frequent intrasentential switching between two or more varieties, a national dialect and CA/MSA. It happens with educated speakers of Arabic, the rise of intermediate varieties.p. Diglossic switching as unmarked choice:, the dialect index nationality, Ca\MSA indexes degree of education.P. 183

20 Empirical studies of Variation in the Arab world: quantitative sociolinguitics Diglossic variables: phonological variation: (q), (ð), (Ѳ) Diglossic variables and the lexicon (lexical diffusion): lexical borrowing, in face-to-face interaction. P. 187

21 Dialect Acquisition Accommodation vs. acquisition Long term accommodation permanent linguistic change Chambers : evidence of permanent acquisition of SEE features in CE speaking youngsters. 8 principles of dialect acquisition.

22 Principle 1 Lexical replacements are acquired faster than pronunciation and phonological variants. (picture cards) Lexical replacements Examples: Coach\bus Chips\fries pronunciation Example: half tomato Table p.680

23 Principle 2 Lexical replacements occur faster in the first stage of language acquisition and then slow down. Dialect acquirers make most replacements in the first two years.

24 Principle 3 Simple phonological rules progress faster than complex ones. Example: simple rule : t-voiving: a medial /t/ is voiced to [d] when it follows a vowel or /r/ and precedes an unstressed syllable. Example: putting\pudding Complex rule: vowel backing before /n/ + obstruent (stops, affricates,fricatives): e.g. dance, bath Its lexicalized rather than rule-governed. Many words with the appropriate environment, but exceptions. Jamaican insertion of /j/ following velars, e.g. car, cat

25 Principle 4 Acquisition of complex rules and new phonemes splits the population into early acquirers and later acquirers. Vowel Backing Critical period: age is critical in dialect acquisiton. Advantage of young youth. However, young children may fail to acquire complex features unless they are part of the input of their parents. Payne 1980 syudy in Pheladelphia.

26 5 In the earliest stages of cquisition, both categorical rules and variable rules of the new dialect result in variability in the aquireres. T-voicing, and R-lessness are categoical CE subjects lose voicing variably. Acquire vowel backing (variable) variably. Intrusive /r/

27 6 Phonological innovations are actuated as pronunuction variants. Theory of lexical diffusion (Wang and Cheng 1975). New phonemes are acquired gradually as particular instances first, word by word diffusion. They become systematic or rule-governed after a critical or large mass of instances has been acquired.

28 7 Eliminating old rules occurs ore rapidly than acquiring new ones. T-voicing vs. r-lessness, vowel-backing Table 6.

29 8 Orthographically distinct variants are acquired faster than orthographically obscure ones. Example: The elimination of t-voicing in CE The acquisition of r-lessness contradicts orthography. Table 7


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