Arabic Language and National Identity: A Study in Ideology / Edition 1

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Considering the communicative and symbolic roles of language in articulating national identity, Yasir Suleiman provides a fresh perspective on nationalism in the Middle East. The links between language and nationalism are delineated and he demonstrates how this has been articulated over the past two centuries.

Straddling the domains of cultural and political nationalism, Suleiman examines the Arab past (looking at the interpretation and reinvention of tradition, and myth-making); the clash between Arab and Turkish cultural nationalism in the 19th and early 20th century; readings of canonical treatises on the topic of Arab cultural nationalism, the major ideological trends linking language to territorial nationalism; and provides a research agenda for the study of language and nationalism in the Arab context.

This the first full-scale study of this important topic and will be of interest to students of nationalism, Arab and comparative politics, Arabic Studies, history, cultural studies and sociolinguistics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This interesting book is a contribution not only to Arabic sociolinguistics but also to other disciplines. The background of the author, with the perspective and tools to undertake the challenging task of the topic, enables him to combine masterfully various fields of study — sociolinguistics, Arabic literature, and nationalist ideology — making the book valuable to all who are interested in the Arab world, nationalism, sociolinguistics in general, and Arabic sociolinguistics in particular." — Language in Society

"Suleiman carefully reads and sifts a large amount of theoretical and applied information in order to provide his readers with a clear and cogent picture of the crucial relationship between language and identity in the Arabic-speaking region. Suleiman's excellent work of synthesis should be required reading in all courses dealing with the languages, politics, and history of the Arabic-speaking world." — MESA Bulletin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780878403950
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Professor Yasir Suleiman, FRSE, is Director of the Edinburgh Institute for the Advanced Study of Islam and the Middle East at the University of Edinburgh. He has written and edited several books including The Arabic Grammatical Tradition, Arabic Sociolinguistics and Language and Identity in the Middle East and North Africa.

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Table of Contents

1 The Arabic Language and National Identity: Aims and Scope
1 Aims of the Study: The Disciplinary Context 1
2 What is National Identity? 4
3 Theoretical and Empirical Scope 9
4 Organization of this Book 12
2 Setting the Scene
1 Definition: The Achilles Heel 16
2 Two Modes of Defining the Nation 20
3 Two Types of Nation, Two Types of Nationalism 23
4 Language and National Identity 27
3 The Past Lives On
1 Introduction 38
2 In Praise of Arabic 42
3 Hikmat al-'Arab: Wisdom of the Arabs 47
4 Lahn: Solecism 49
5 'Ajam and 'Arab 55
6 The Arabs as a Nation (umma): Further Evidence 64
4 The Arabic Language Unites Us
1 Introduction 69
2 From Ottomanism to Turkism: The Turkification of the Ottoman Turks 70
3 From Ottomanism to Arabism: Preliminary Remarks 79
4 Ibrahim al-Yaziji: From Immediate Aims to Underlying Motives 96
5 Arabic, First Foremost
1 Introduction 113
2 Under the Banner of Arabic 117
3 Sati' al-Husri: Arabic, First and Foremost 126
4 Zaki al-Arsuzi: The Genius of the Arab Nation Inheres in its Language 146
6 The Arabic Language and Territorial Nationalism
1 Introduction 162
2 The Arabic Language and Territorial Nationalism: Antun Sa'ada and Regional Syrian Nationalism 164
3 The Arabic Language and Egyptian Nationalism: Early Beginnings 169
4 The Arabic Language and Egyptian Nationalism: Full Elaboration 174
5 The Arabic Language and Lebanese Nationalism: A General Introduction 204
7 Conclusion: Looking Back, Looking Forward
1 The Arabic Language and National Identity: Looking Back 224
2 The Arabic Language and National Identity: Looking Forward 228
Notes 232
Works in Arabic Cited in the Text 249
Works in Other Languages Cited in the Text 260
Index 270
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