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Mahmoud Kanakri

Ph.D. Dissertation, 1988


This study starts with a re-examination of the linguistic situation in the Arabic world, with particular reference to Arabic as it is spoken in Jordan. It concludes that neither the diglossic model (Ferguson 1959), nor the triglossic model (Hussein 1980) or any other linguistic model can be seen as an adequate description of the linguistic situation there. This study proposes a tetraglossic model where Classical Arabic (CA), Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), Educated Spoken Arabic (ESA) and Colloquial Arabic (KA) are claimed to exist. ESA has been selected to be the focus of this study because the number of its speakers increase rapidly and because of the interesting factors which led to its emergence. Educated Spoken Arabic of Jordan has been identified at two levels, the linguistic level: phonological, morphological, syntactic, and lexical levels, and at the social level: a number of extra-linguistic factors which lead to the use of ESA rather than the other Arabic varieties. This study tackles in a rather detailed way the description of the speech of educated Arabic speakers, the different styles of speech they use. The description of the styles of speech of such speakers has been achieved in light of: (1) Labov's (1966, 1972) contextual styles. (2) Giles and Smith's (1979) Accommodation Theory. (3) Scotton's (1983) Principle of Negotiation. Another major concern of this study is style-shifting in ESA and the major motivations of this process. The above three principles have been incorporated again to discuss this second major theme. These principles have been found promising to discuss style and style-shifting in Arabic. The data in this dissertation come from a fieldwork conducted in the United States, a questionnaire distributed to Jordanian informants in Jordan and a reasonable size of recorded speech from the Jordanian TV and radio.

Department of Linguistics University of Wisconsin-Madison

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