Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Linguistics

Reader 1

Meredith Landman

Reader 2

Cindy Forster

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© 2017 Emilie E. Wilk

Abstract

This thesis investigates attitudes toward different regional varieties of Arabic and how native speakers perceive their own dialect vis-à-vis others. Building from previous research in the field, this study specifically seeks to learn which dialects are preferred, which are seen as being nearest to Standard Arabic (fuṣḥā), and whether there is a correlation between masculinity and fuṣḥā. The results of a two-part sociolinguistic questionnaire, distributed to 44 participants, suggest that many native Arabic speakers have overall positive attitudes about their own dialects, though this is often complicated by factors of prestige and gender. When asked directly which dialect they believed to be most similar to fuṣḥā, many participants list Arabian Peninsula varieties, yet when asked more indirectly the majority of participants indicate their own dialect is nearest to fuṣḥā. Finally, the proposed relationship between masculinity and fuṣḥā, suggested but never substantiated by earlier studies, proves to be epiphenomenal here.

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