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date: 24 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article addresses some long-standing issues in Arabic sociolinguistics. The starting point is the concept of diglossia, which has become the port of entry for any discussion of the semiliquid language situation in the Arabic-speaking world. It first outlines the most abiding criticisms against diglossia and then offers thoughts on these as a prelude to discussing Arabic folk linguistics. It is argued that a folk linguistic perspective should be incorporated in studying Arabic in the social world. This perspective is important in developing an insider understanding of the language that may be at odds with the findings of modern linguistics. To aid the process of developing this perspective, the article adopts the terminology and conceptual frameworks Arabic speakers use in describing their language situation wherever possible—hence, the choice of fusha and ‘ammiyya instead of any of their translations into English, including Classical Arabic and vernacular, which Haeri uses.

Keywords: Arabic, sociolinguistics, diglossia, folk linguistics, language, of fusha, ‘ammiyya

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