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A Sociolinguistic Study in Saḥam, Northern Jordan

Abu Ain, Noora Qassim Mohammad (2016) A Sociolinguistic Study in Saḥam, Northern Jordan. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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This is a sociolinguistic investigation that examines variation in the use of two Ḥōrāni traditional features in the dialect of Saḥam in Jordan. The first sociolinguistic variable is (U). Traditional northern Jordanian Ḥōrāni dialects generally prefer [u] to [i] in words such as: zubde ‘butter’ and dʒubne ‘cheese’. On the other hand, the central and southern Jordanian dialects have [i] in similar environments; thus, zibde and dʒibne. The second sociolinguistic variable is (L). Traditional Ḥōrāni dialects generally prefer the dark variant [ḷ] to the light variant [l]. In other words, while the traditional Ḥōrāni dialects often realise /l/ as [ḷ] in words like: xāḷ ‘uncle’ and g̣āḷ ‘he said’, other dialects realise it as [l], and thus: xāl and gāl. These variables are studied in relation to three social factors (age, gender and amount of contact) and three linguistic factors (position in syllable, preceding and following environments). The sample consists of 60 speakers (30 males and 30 females) from three age groups (young, middle and old). The data were collected through sociolinguistic interviews, and analysed within the framework of the Variationist Paradigm using Rbrul statistical package. The results show considerable variation and change in progress in the use of both variables, constrained by linguistic and social factors. As for the linguistic constraints, the innovative variant [i] was found to be favoured in the environment of a preceding or following coronal sounds. The traditional variant [ḷ] was found to be most favoured when preceded or followed by a back vowel. For both variables, the young female speakers were found to lead the change towards the non-local variants [i] and [l]. The interpretations of the findings focus on changes that the local community have experienced as a result of urbanisation and increased access to the target features through contact with outside communities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Noora Abu Ain
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2017 09:20
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2017 09:20

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