Revisiting the Arabic Diglossic Situation and Highlighting the Socio-Cultural Factors Shaping Language Use in Light of Auer’s (2005) Model

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Ball State University, USA

Abstract

In the field of Arabic sociolinguistics, diglossia has been an interesting linguistic inquiry since it was first discussed by Ferguson in 1959. Since then, diglossia has been discussed, expanded, and revisited by Badawi (1973), Hudson (2002), and Albirini (2016) among others. While the discussion of the Arabic diglossic situation highlights the existence of two separate codes (High and Low), Auer’s (2005) model acknowledged the significance of intermediate and exoglossic forms. The comparison of the two models shows that Ferguson’s defining features of diglossia were essential to the understanding of the Arabic sociolinguistics situation; nevertheless, they may not reflect the overlap between the two codes and the insertion of exoglossic forms as it is happening in daily communication among speakers of Arabic. Based on the data from Al-Jazeera network along with two complementary studies and in light of discourse markers in Arabic, this paper shows how Auer’s (2005) model fits the current Arabic linguistic situation and highlights the importance of socio-cultural factors.

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