LINGUIST List 26.3405

Fri Jul 24 2015

Calls: Arabic, Sociolinguistics/Morocco

Editor for this issue: Anna White <>

Date: 24-Jul-2015
From: Ahmed Echcharfi <>
Subject: Standardization of 'Arabiyya and Amazigh in Comparative Perspective
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Full Title: Standardization of 'Arabiyya and Amazigh in Comparative Perspective
Short Title: SAACP

Date: 05-Oct-2016 - 06-Oct-2016
Location: Rabat, Morocco
Contact Person: Ahmed Echcharfi
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): Arabic, Standard

Call Deadline: 30-Jun-2016

Meeting Description:

The conference is organized jointly by the Faculty of Education, Rabat, and the Department of Middle East Studies, UT, Austin.

The conference compares the standardization of Arabic in the 8th century and the ongoing standardization of Berber in North African countries.

The organizers invite scholars interested in Arabic, Amazigh and the phenomenon of language standardization to compare the standardization of Classical Arabic (i.e. „Arabiyya) during the first and second centuries A.H (VIII and IX A.D.) and the ongoing standardization of Amazigh in North African countries. The main reason behind the choice of this topic is that the social, the political and the religious circumstances that motivated and directed the standardization Classical Arabic are still not well-understood. Arab and Muslim scholars have long been content with some ideas advanced in the IV century A.H according to which Classical Arabic corresponds to the Qurayshi variety. Western scholars also have not given much interest to the phenomenon, though many of them expressed opinions in this regard which remained scattered in their writings. Therefore, the organizers of the Rabat-Austin workshops on Arabic hope that scholars will seize the opportunity to discuss the issue deeply in the light of traditional Arabic sources as well as recent scholarship on language standardization in general.

Language standardization in the past can be approached better through comparison with similar processes happening in the present. One case of language standardization taking place in the Arab-Muslim world is Amazigh (Berber), the language of the original inhabitants of North Africa. What is interesting about the Amazigh case is that its standardization is happening within a cultural context deeply influenced by Arabic traditional views of language, linguistic variation and linguistic standards. The name „Amazigh‟ today refers to a large set of varieties many of which are not mutually intelligible. Yet, Amazigh activists in Morocco, for example, insist on the unity of their language in their discourse with their community as well as with the state. Why do we witness such strong tendency toward unity? What about the relation between trans-national Amazigh varieties and movements? What effect has the Arabo-Islamic linguistic culture on the Amazigh standardization discourse? etc. These and similar questions can give rise to a fruitful debate about language standardization in general, and language standardization in an Arabo-Islamic setting in particular.

Call for Papers:

Researchers wishing to contribute to these workshops are encouraged to contribute papers and give 25-minute presentations in any of – but not only – these areas:


1. The role of the Umayyad and the Abbasid dynasties in language standardization
2. The role of tribal conflict in language standardization
3. The role of grammarians and lexicographers in language standardization
4. Dialectal variation and the standardization of Classical Arabic
5. Quranic readings and the emergence of Classical Arabic
6. Classical Arabic and Quranic script (rasm)


1. Language variation and the standardization of Amazigh
2. The role of the Arabic linguistic culture in the standardization of Amazigh
3. The standardization of Amazigh and the Amazigh “nationhood”
4. Standard Amazigh and the state

Comparative Studies:

1. The role of religious texts in language standardization
2. The role of linguistic culture in language standardization
3. The political and the social functions of language standardization
4. Language standardization and social conflict
5. Standardization and re-standardization of Arabic

Working Languages:

Papers and presentations can be prepared in English, Arabic or French.

Page Updated: 24-Jul-2015