A War of Words: Language and Conflict in the Middle East

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Yasir Suleiman considers national identity in relation to language, the way in which language can be manipulated to signal political, cultural or historical difference. As a language with a long-recorded heritage spoken by the majority of peoples in the Middle East, Arabic is a particularly appropriate language to study and provides a penetrating means of exploring the conflicts of the Middle East.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a well-crafted, well organized, and eloquent book." Karin Ryding, Georgetown University

"The book is interesting and valuable for its attempt to elaborate a sociolinguistic approach to political and social conflicts." The International History Review Eliezer Ben-Rafael, Tel-Aviv University

"Suleiman does make a fine, well-reasoned, and yet passionate case for the emotion and commitment with which language communities defend their language use...A highlight of the book is his fascinating analysis of the implications of the specific language forms used on multilingual street signs in Jerusalem." - William O. Beeman

"It is a contribution to Suleiman's continued explorations of the linguistic conflicts produced by the religious and military conquests of Islam and the continuing tensions in seeking resolutions...The potential is huge, and Suleiman is one of the few scholars who are daring to tackle it." anthropological linguistics Bernard Spolsky, Bar-Ilan University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521837439
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2011
  • Series: Cambridge Middle East Studies Series, #19
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Yasir Suleiman is Professor of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, and Director of the Edinburgh Institute for the Advanced Study of the Arab World and Islam at the University of Edinburgh. His publications include The Arabic Language and National Identity: A Study in Ideology (2003) and The Arabic Grammatical Tradition: a Study in Ta'liil (1999).

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Language, power and conflict in the Middle East; 3. When language and dialects collide: standard Arabic and its 'opponents'; 4. When dialects collide: on the banks of the River Jordan; 5. When languages collide: between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean sea; 6. Language and conflict in the Middle East: a conclusion.

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