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Ethnicity and Language

(5,902 words)

Author(s): Humphrey T. Davies
Among the various identifying characteristics of ethnic groups, such as ancestry, religion, and territory, language is often considered the most prominent. This entry focuses on the extent to which Arabic itself serves as a unifying identity symbol, and then looks at the significance of language variation for some of the minority ethnic groups within the Arab world. Such groups may relate to language in a variety of ways, and distinctions based on language do not always correlate with those based on other criteria. Before the movement of the Arabs out of Arabia and across the Levan…
Date: 2018-04-01

Dialect Literature

(4,912 words)

Author(s): Humphrey T. Davies
1. Introduction ‘Dialect literature’ is defined for the purposes of this entry as materials written in colloquial Arabic to be read rather than heard. Thus, the materials described here are the product of a choice by their authors to disregard the norm, prevalent throughout the history of Arabic literature, that mandates the use of the literary idiom in written communication. Materials composed primarily for oral performance and then transcribed, such as printed traditional poetry and folk stories, have been excluded. Also excluded are materials that mix colloquial a…
Date: 2018-04-01