Phonetic and phonological variation in the speech of rural migrants in a Jordanian city
This study investigates the phonetic and phonological variation in the speech of Fallahi (rural) migrants in the town of Irbid. This variationist investigation focuses on four linguistic variables: (Q), (D), (8) and (d3) across four social variables: social class, gender, education, and age. The spread of non-local urban features in the speech of the Fallahi people living within the same area and having similar kinship, social and cultural backgrounds is the focus of investigation. This kind of analysis considers the competing status of the two extreme levels of the Arabic language continuum. Therefore, it reshuffles the images associated with Standard Arabic as the most prestigious variety in Arabic. Then, it re-examines the underlying role of education as a variable that covers some degree of outside contacts rather than being a direct and independent variable by itself. This claim goes in line with the general diglossic nature of Arabic and its competing prestigious levels. The data obtained from the 72 informants of the current study shows that gender and social class are the most important variables that have significant effect on the use of the non-local prestigious features in Jordan. Within this frame, it appears that women are more innovative than men although their degree of outside contact is surrounded by cultural, social and sometimes religious restrictions. It is also clear that the correlation between the nonlocal variants and social class is very high: the higher the social class the lower the local rural features. This will add a lot to the general locus of innovation that stems from the younger female informants at the higher-class level. This kind of variation gives space for the role of 'identity' as a pressure that forces especiaIIy the men to use the local indigenous features. In addition to that, it traces the domains of Standard Arabic to show that it is domain-restricted rather than being used spontaneously in different social contexts. To examine the nature of the standard linguistic variants that are also used in one of the dialects in Jordan, a lexico-phonological test is suggested. This test comes as an indicator of whether these variants are used in their standard or colloquial capacity.