Variation in the educated spoken Arabic of Iraq : a sociolinguistic study
In this sociolinguistic study an attempt is made to relate different levels of use of variant features of Educated Spoken Arabic (ESA) of Iraq to speakers' attitudes, and to link these variables with sex and regional differences in a group of informants. The informants are a number of educated Iraqis who are available in the U. K. In the study of language attitude the methods used involved a questionnaire on attitudes and an analysis of subjects' reaction to samples of ESA containing the variant features to be studied which used semantic differential technique. Factor analysis was adopted as a data analysis device. In the attitude study a presentation of the attitudes of the informants towards different regional speech styles, of Iraq, was provided. The study showed significant differences between the attitudes of the male and the female informants as well as among the informants who belong to the three regions of Iraq. The second part of the study investigated the distribution of chosen phonological variables. The effect of the sex and the region of the speakers on their choice of standard / stigmatized (colloquial) variants was studied. The methodology adopted in this part involved recordings of unprepared and unscripted speech by the informants discussing various informal topics. The data analysis involved the use of a text analysis package, Oxford Concordance Program (OCP). The study established that the male speakers chose more standard and less stigmatized variants than the female speakers. This result contrasted with the findings of some studies which have been conducted in the western world but agreed with other studies conducted in similar Arab speech communities. The study also revealed some differences among speakers from different regions in the choice of the variants.