Arabic Sociolinguistics

cover art
336 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781589015739 (1589015738)

October 2009
LC: 2009024873
Sales Rights: Only for sale in the U.S. and Canada


Table of Contents
Press Release

Arabic Sociolinguistics
Topics in Diglossia, Gender, Identity, and Politics
Reem Bassiouney

This introduction to major topics in the field of Arabic sociolinguistics examines key issues in diglossia, code-switching, gendered discourse, language variation and change, and language policies. It introduces and evaluates various theoretical approaches and models, and it illustrates the usefulness and limitations of these approaches to Arabic with empirical data. Reem Bassiouney explores how current 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.

Graduate students of Arabic language and linguistics as well as students of sociolinguistics with no knowledge of Arabic will find this volume to be an indispensable resource.

Reem Bassiouney is an assistant professor of Arabic linguistics at Georgetown University. She is the author of The Functions of Code-Switching in Egypt as well as numerous scholarly articles and three novels.
"While there exist a number of undergraduate and graduate textbooks on the sociolinguistics of English, the current book focusing specifically on Arabic is to the best of my knowledge the first of its kind. Up-to-date and comprehensive, it is useful not only to students and researchers of Arabic, but also to all those who are interested in sociolinguistics in general."—Language Policy

"For those interested in the Arab situation from a sociolinguistic point of view, it seems indispensable. The enthusiasm of the author and the abundant and insightful examples make this a good book to be discovered by readers of traditional introductions into sociolinguistics, which, so this book demonstrates, have as their point of departure a western way of looking at things."—Historical Sociolinguistics and Sociohistorical Linguistics

"A welcome addition to the literature in this important and growing field. Arabic Sociolinguistics is to my knowledge the only up-to-date, comprehensive manual on the whole subject. The book is written in a pleasingly informal style, and is full of acute (and often personal) observations on the subtle ways in which language and society interact in the Arabic-speaking world. It should be of great benefit both to the student of Arabic and the general linguist with no knowledge of Arabic."—Clive Holes, professor for the study of the contemporary Arab world, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford

"The first of its kind in Arabic sociolinguistics. It will set the standards for the field with its rich insights, brilliant range, and copious examples that make the subject come alive. I have no doubt whatsoever that this book will quickly emerge as the primary text on any course on Arabic in the social world."—Yasir Suleiman, director, Centre of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge

Table of Contents


1. Diglossia and dialect groups in the Arab world
1.1 Diglossia
1.1.1 An overview of the study of diglossia
1.1.2 Theories that explain diglossia in terms of levels
1.1.3 The idea of Educated Spoken Arabic
1.2 Dialects/varieties in the Arab world
1.2.1 The concept of prestige as different from that of standard
1.2.2 Groups of dialects in the Arab world
1.3 Conclusion

2. Code-switching
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Problem of terminology: code-switching and code-mixing
2.3 Code-switching and diglossia
2.4 The study of constraints on code-switching in relation to the Arab world
2.4.1 Structural constraints on classic code-switching
2.4.2 Structural constraints on diglossic switching Application of the ML and 4-M mdoel to MSA and ECA switching, a case study
2.5 Motivations for code-switching
2.5.1 Motivations and discourse functions of classic code-switching
2.5.2 Motivations and discourse functions of diglossic switching
2.6 Conclusion

3. Language variation and change
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Language variation and change
3.2.1 Social class approach
3.2.2 Social networks approach
3.2.3 Third wave approach to variation studies: community of practice
3.3 Methodology
3.4 Sociolinguistic variables
3.4.1 Ethnicity
3.4.2 Religion
3.4.3 Urbanisation
3.4.4 Social class
3.4.5 Other factors
3.5 Levelling
3.5.1 Diglossia and levelling
3.5.2 Levelling and change
3.6 Conclusion

4. Arabic and gender
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Approaches to language and gender
4.2.1 The deficit theory and Lakoff's contribution to the study of language and gender
4.2.2 The dominance theory
4.2.3 The difference theory
4.2.4 Third wave aproach to variation studies: community of practice theory
4.3 Women in the Arab world: framing and background information
4.3.1 Diversity in education
4.3.2 Diveristy in urbanization
4.3.3 Economic diversity
4.3.4 Diversity in tradition and religious practices The veil
4.3.5 Honour and modesty
4.4 Politeness in relation to gender
4.5 'Mister master': names, status and identities
4.5.1 Names and why they are hidden
4.6 When a chicken crows like a cock: women narrators
4.7 Language variation and change in relation to gender
4.7.1 An overview of studies on linguistic variation in relation to gender
4.7.2 An overview of linguistic variation in relation to gender in the Arab world
4.8 Projection of identity in the speech of educated women and men in Egypt: evidence from talk shows—a case study
4.8.1 Description of data
4.8.2 Categorising the data
4.8.3 Detailed description of the data
4.8.4 Conclusion
4.9 The symbolic use of language
4.10 Gender universals re-examined
4.11 Conclusion

5. Language policy and politics
5.1 The power of language
5.2 What is language policy?
5.2.1 Language ideologies
5.2.2 Language practices
5.2.3 Language planning
5.3 Nation and state
5.3.1 The relation between nations and language
5.3.2 The Arab nation
5.4 Countries with SA as the official language
5.5 French versus British patterns of colonization and their relation to language policies
5.5.1 French patterns of colonization
5.5.2 British patterns of colonization
5.6 Language policies in other parts of the Arab world
5.7 The role of language academies in the Arab world
5.8 SA, politics and the aching nation: a case study
5.9 Linguistic rights and political rights
5.10 English and globalization
5.11 Conclusion

General conclusion