Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2452-1949
  • E-ISSN: 2452-2147
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The study of variation in Arabic vernaculars has come a long way since its beginnings as a misguided endeavor to compare features in these contemporary dialects to cognate features in Standard Arabic (Classical or Modern) and view any differences as results of language change. We now recognize that the dialects and Standard Arabic have had different trajectories in different places and over a long period of time. The current study attempts to assess variation in a local variety of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and explore the methodological and theoretical advantages to consider what we already know about variation in the vernacular spoken by the same community whose reading in the Standard we are investigating. The paper draws a distinction between Prescribed MSA and a local variety thereof, as attested in recordings of a text read aloud by speakers of a Palestinian dialect, which were collected as part of a broader battery of sociolinguistic interviews in the speakers’ two dominant languages, Arabic and Hebrew. This is a pilot study, in which variationist methods of quantification and contextual analysis were employed, with the hope for setting the stage for more elaborate studies on the various stylistic repertoires available to speakers of Arabic.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Arabic; Palestine; reading; variation
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