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Title: Deconstructing diglossia : language ideology and change in revolutionary Egypt (2010-2014)
Author: Aboelezz, Mariam
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 2943
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2014
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The language scene in Egypt has witnessed important developments since the turn of the 21st century. Defying the Fergusonian distribution of diglossic functions, the use of Egyptian Arabic ('āmmiyya) has spread to domains where Standard Arabic (fuṣḥā) is expected. There is also increasing evidence of the rising prestige and commercial value of English. In addition, Arabic written in Latin script has become a common sight in offline mediums. This study, which began in 2010 and was concluded in 2014, is an attempt to understand the dynamics of this developing situation in the backdrop of substantial political change in Egypt. I investigate what has motivated the recent language developments as well as how they are viewed by the self-appointed protectors of fuṣḥā and by a sample of language users, with particular focus on the role that ideology plays. This involved conducting interviews with 'agents of change' (an Egyptian nationalist political party, a leftist publisher, and a mobile service provider), and a focus group interview with 'resisters of change' (representing three Arabic language conservation societies). I also carried out a web survey of the language behaviour and attitudes of Cairo-based Internet users. Incorporating the qualitative and quantitative findings from the interviews and the survey, I contend that ideology plays a significant part in the motivation and perception of language change. However, the relationship between language ideologies and language practices is not straightforward. Other factors such as education and age were also salient. These findings contribute to a reframing of diglossia and an attempt to theorise the relationships between language, power and identity in Egypt.
Supervisor: Sebba, Mark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral