LINGUIST List 22.3103

Wed Aug 03 2011

Books: Anthro Ling/Historical Ling/Typology: Embarki, Ennaji (Eds)

Editor for this issue: Danniella Hornby <>

        1.     Moha Ennaji , Modern Trends in Arabic Dialectology: Embarki, Ennaji (Eds)

Message 1: Modern Trends in Arabic Dialectology: Embarki, Ennaji (Eds)
Date: 02-Aug-2011
From: Moha Ennaji <>
Subject: Modern Trends in Arabic Dialectology: Embarki, Ennaji (Eds)
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Title: Modern Trends in Arabic Dialectology Published: 2011 Publisher: Langues et Linguistique

Editor: Mohamed Embarki Editor: Moha Ennaji Paperback: ISBN: 1569023476 Pages: 242 Price: U.S. $ 29.95

The relevance of this book is highlighted first by the fact thatlanguage-based approaches are still lacking in Arabic dialectology. Theclassification of Arabic dialects is not yet entirely satisfactory.Geographical and sociological layers were traditionally based on theassumption that the saliency of some features in the Modern Arabic dialectsis the product of two different processes: diffusion and innovation.However, this traditional approach is not consistent with the history ofArabic. For instance, the saliency of some features that support theclassification of the Modern dialects varies according to features that canbe traced back to Classical Arabic, Islamic dialects, Old Arabic dialects,or proto-Arabic.

Another explicative process has been, to some extent, neglected in thestudy of Arabic dialects, namely inheritance. Some phonological featurescurrently present in Modern Arabic dialects cannot be explained by any ofthe two terms of this paradigm. As long as the mapping of Westernapproaches on Arabic dialects seems to be relatively unsatisfactory,diffusion and innovation are found to be incomplete to explain the extremevariability of the linguistic features of the Arabic dialects. Since somefeatures appear in very distant isolated isoglosses, they are consistentneither with diffusion nor with concomitant innovation; only theirunderlyingly inherited nature could provide a logical scheme.

Introducing the process of inheritance, besides diffusion and innovation,aims to enlarge our knowledge of the history of the Modern Arabic dialects.The threefold paradigm is more accurate to perform satisfying explanationsof the features of similarity and dissimilarity between Old Arabic andModern Arabic dialects, at the synchronic and diachronic levels. Thisdivision necessitates evaluating actual geographical and sociologicalclassifications of Modern Arabic dialects, as well as our interpretationsof the similarity and dissimilarity of linguistic features in the Arabic area.

Even if language-specific approaches to Arabic dialects are lacking, andthe mapping of Western constructs unappealing, this fact should not justifyper se constructing new completely compartmentalized trends in Arabicdialectology. Cross-cultural outlooks as widely experienced in the firststages of the Arabic empire in the Orient as well as during the Islamickingdoms of Spain, remain an essential motor that must lead to build upspecific approaches for the study of Arabic dialects.

This book aims to shed light on recent trends in Arabic dialectology.Cross-cultural analyses are provided by scholars from different origins(Arabic native speakers and excellent Arabists) and from differentlinguistic backgrounds (Arabic, Berber, English, French, Hebrew, Spanish).The chapters are all devoted to produce systematic descriptions andanalyses of Arabic dialects. The book is divided into three thematicsections: (a) Theoretical and Historical Perspectives and Methods in ArabicDialectology; (b) Eastern Arabic Dialects; and (c) Western Arabic Dialects.

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics                             Historical Linguistics                             Language Documentation                             Typology
Subject Language(s): Arabic, Standard (arb) Language Family(ies): Semitic Areal Regions: Near Eastern
Written In: English (eng )

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Page Updated: 03-Aug-2011