The Quest for Identity: How Egyptian is Egyptian Arabic? Yasmine Salah El-Din firstname.lastname@example.org The International Conference on Bilingualism and Bilingual Education December, 2009 The American University of Sharjah, The United Arab Emirates
Theoretical Background • Effect of foreign languages on Arabic • English as a global language • Borrowing, loanwords, and code-switching • Lexical innovation
The Research Questions • To what extent are these lexically innovated items familiar to our students? • To what extent do students use such words? • What forms do these innovated words take? • How far does/will this affect spoken Arabic and therefore the Egyptian identity?
Participants in the Study • 81 Undergraduate Students • 38 3rd year students from the English Department, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University. • 43 freshmen from the English Language Institute, the American University in Cairo.
Familiarity Familiar Non Familiar Very Familiar CU AUC
Frequency Sometimes Rarely Never Usually CU AUC
Familiarity Familiar Non Familiar Very Familiar Males Females
Frequency Sometimes Rarely Never Usually Males Females
FamiliarityComputer Terms Familiar Non Familiar Very Familiar CU AUC
FrequencyComputer Terms Sometimes Rarely Never Usually CU AUC
Questionnaire on language and identity • Do you use such words as /jidallit/ and /jitanʃin/? • In using these words, do you realize they are not purely Arabic? • If you know there are Arabic equivalents to those words, why do you use the English words? • Do males use these words more than females? • Do you think using such words affects Egyptian spoken Arabic? • Do you think this practice would affect our identity as belonging to an Arab culture? • Do you think you will continue using such words in 5-10 years time? • In twenty years time, when you have adolescent children, would it be OK with you if they used such words? • If you were asked to provide an adjective describing a person who uses this language, what would you say?
Questions to consider • Do these findings apply to other segments of the Egyptian society/the Arab world? • Do these, in any way, threaten our language/culture identity? • Should we do anything about it?
References Amin, G. (1998; 2nd ed 2001). Madha hadath lil-masriyin, Cairo, Dar El-Hilal Haeri, N. (1997). The Sociolinguistic Market of Cairo: Gender, Class and Education, New York: Kegan Paul International. Hafez, Nermine Nabil (2008). Egyptian Arabic teenage slang: A sociolinguistic study. Unpublished MA thesis, Ain Shams University. Hafez, O. (1996). Phonological and Morphological Integration of Loanwords into Egyptian Arabic. Egypte/Monde arabe no. 27-28, pp. 383-410 . Heath, J. (1989). From code-switching to borrowing: foreign and diglossic mixing in Moroccan Arabic. London: Kegan Paul International. Hemaya, Y. (2002-2003). Qamus riwiʃ tahn, vols 1 and 2, Cairo: Dar al-Hossam. Khalil, G. (1984). Lexical borrowing from French and English by Egyptian colloquial Arabic. Unpublished MA thesis. Cairo: American University in Cairo. .
References Labov, W. (2001). Principles of Linguistic Change, II: Social Factors. Oxford: Blackwell. Miller, Catherine (2007). Arabic urban vernaculars: Development and change. In Catherine Miller et al. (eds.) Arabic in the City: Issues in dialect contact and language variation. Routledge: London and New York. Rizk, Sherin (2007). The language of Cairo's young university students. In Catherine Miller et al. (eds.) Arabic in the City: Issues in dialect contact and language variation. Routledge: London and New York. Said, Majed (1967) Lexical innovation through borrowing in modern standard Arabic. NJ: Princeton. Weinreich, Uriel (1968). Languages in contact: Findings and problems. The Hague ; Paris : Mouton, 1967.
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