As a culture area, the Arab world has had different ecological structures —
nomadic (bedouin) and sedentary (rural and urban) — with parallel
linguistic systems. Throughout the long history of the Arabic language, the
development of transitional stages has generated linguistic correlates in
Arabic dialects. The notion "ecolinguistics," combined and reinforced with
the concepts of "compatibility" and "lexical diffusion," is introduced in
this study to identify such a sociolinguistic change. The domain of change
for this ecolinguistic variation is the extended family in which the middle
generation develops new lexical items by the application of ecolinguistic
rules. This research also provides a description of these rules which
speakers generate as they gradually acquire an awareness of the social
parameters for their use.
The theoretical framework and the putative results of this study are
offered to stimulate further research in the causation and implementation
of linguistic change, especially in terms of quantitative analyses of
ecolinguistic variation and lexical diffusion in the Arabic language.