ERIC Number: ED021207
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1964-Jul
Reference Count: 0
The Problem of Literary Language and Dialect in Arab Countries. Preliminary Translations of Selected Works in Sociolinguistics, Number II.
The author notes the problems arising from the dichotomy between literary Arabic and the spoken varieties. The thousand-year-old system of teaching literary Arabic, the archaic elements of grammar, and the writing system are discussed. The written history of the literary language is presented in three stages--(1) the pre-Islamic classical, (2) the international, medieval Eastern, and (3) the contemporary. A speaker of one of the five main dialects (Abrabian, Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian, or Maghribi) can, with difficulty, understand a conversation in another dialect becuase of the similarity in vocabulary and basic grammar. The almost complete elimination of the literary language from the area of oral communication, however, and the almost unlimited domination of this area by the dialects has provoked a natural desire to find some way for a unification of these two language forms, sometimes considered antagonistic in their "bilingualism." A general opinion is that the solution depends on time and that the rift between written and spoken forms will narrow with the disappearance of illiteracy. This study, translated by Kathleen Lewis and edited for content by Frank A. Rice of the Center for Applied Linguistics, originally appeared in "Voprosy formiroanija i razvitija nacional'nyx jazykov (Problems of the Formation and Development of National Languages)," M.M. Guxman, Moscow,1960. (amm)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC.