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Neighborhood and Ancestry: Variation in the Spoken Arabic of Maiduguri, Nigeria
     

Neighborhood and Ancestry: Variation in the Spoken Arabic of Maiduguri, Nigeria

by Jonathan Owens
 
Over the past 35 years urban sociolinguistics has developed upon the base of detailed case studies carried out mainly in western countries. A fundamental dichotomy informing the interpretation of variation has been carried out within what is termed the “standard-vernacular model”. Higher vs. lower social class, power vs. solidarity, open networks vs.

Overview

Over the past 35 years urban sociolinguistics has developed upon the base of detailed case studies carried out mainly in western countries. A fundamental dichotomy informing the interpretation of variation has been carried out within what is termed the “standard-vernacular model”. Higher vs. lower social class, power vs. solidarity, open networks vs. closed networks are a few of the conceptual dyads which have been invoked to order linguistic variation operating with an input from a standard/vernacular source. The present study, based on the spoken Arabic of Maiduguri, Nigeria, focuses on a linguistic landscape where the notions of “standard” and “vernacular” are of little relevance in ordering urban linguistic variants. It is argued that linguistic variation is best conceptualized and ordered in terms of the twin variables of neighborhood and ancestral norms. A detailed analysis of 13 linguistic variables based on a corpus of about 500,000 words invokes an urban linguistic world different from that in the West. To integrate this landscape into current sociolinguistic thinking a typology of urban variation is outlined using familar, yet relatively unutilized sociolinguistic parameters: neighborhood, ancestry, minority status and institutionalization.

Editorial Reviews

Yasir Suleiman
The Strengths of the book lie in its ability to combine an impressive quantitative readings of the language situation in Maiduguri carried out by reference to the dominant trends in sociolinguistic research.
Elizabeth Keating in Language and Society 29:4
This book is an ambitious one, covering a broad field — not only monologism and dialogism. It brings together many strands of current research in talk-in-interaction and the analysis and the analysis of discourse properties, as well as providing new insights and ideas. The work is a real contribution to the study of language.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781556198533
Publisher:
John Benjamins Publishing Company
Publication date:
11/01/1998
Series:
IMPACT: Studies in Language and Society Series
Pages:
404
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.65(h) x 0.04(d)

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