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Jordanian and palestinian dialects in contact: Vowel raising in Amman

Al-Wer, E (2011) 'Jordanian and palestinian dialects in contact: Vowel raising in Amman.' In: UNSPECIFIED, (ed.) Language Change: The Interplay of Internal, External and Extra-Linguistic Factors. UNSPECIFIED, 63 - 80. ISBN 9783110172027, 311017202X

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This paper is based on ongoing research in the city of Amman, which investigates the linguistic features of the city’s emerging dialect. In the modern history of Jordan, Amman is a new city. Strictly speaking, it had no native population and no native dialect. It became home to well over one million people, mostly of Jordanian and Palestinian origins, who spoke different, although mutually intelligible, dialects. The findings show that the youngsters in Amman are clearly not emulating the linguistic behaviour of their parents, nor that of other groups in the city. They are, rather, engaged in the making of a new dialect. A combination of internal, external and extra-linguistic factors is at work in the making of the new dialect. At the consonantal level, features already present in the original mix are used, but the combination of features which is most consistently used by the youth is an innovation. Some of these changes represent natural tendencies, such as the change from interdental to stop sounds, while others appear to be, additionally, influenced by external factors, such as processes of levelling and regional koinéization and extra-linguistic factors, in the form of feelings of local identity. At the vocalic level, the contact results in the emergence of totally new features, some of which are phonetically intermediate in relation to the input dialects, while others are more advanced. In the majority of cases, the vocalic movements appear to be connected, showing a prototypical pattern of a chain shift, broadly in line with Labov’s principles of chain shifting of vowels (Labov 1994:116). The (extra-linguistic) social correlates of these developments, although as yet based on a relatively small sample of speakers, are indicative of the pivotal role the female speakers play in advancing the use of the new forms.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Admin
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2011 08:24
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2021 10:15

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