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Not-so-strange bedfellows: Documentation, description, and sociolinguistics in Gaza

  • William M. Cotter (a1)

Arabic is often investigated within dialectological frameworks that emerged in the 19th century, though that work now exists alongside decades of variationist sociolinguistic research. The latter method typically produces abundant data, recorded at very high quality, which lend themselves to being transcribed, described and preserved. This paper presents descriptive information on the Arabic dialect of Gaza City, based on recent sociolinguistic fieldwork conducted in the Gaza Strip with 39 speakers from the wider Gaza City community. These descriptive aspects of the dialect are presented as part of a broader discussion regarding the need for a more holistic integration of sociolinguistics and language description and documentation in work on understudied or endangered varieties of Arabic.

La langue arabe est souvent étudiée au sein de cadres dialectologiques ayant émergé au 19e siècle, mais ce travail existe maintenant de compagnie avec quelques décennies de recherches en linguistique variationniste. Cette dernière méthode produit généralement des données abondantes, en enregistrements de très haute qualité, se prêtant bien à la transcription, à la description et à la conservation. Le présent article, qui fournit des informations descriptives sur le dialecte arabe de la ville de Gaza, se fonde sur un travail de terrain sociolinguistique mené récemment dans la bande de Gaza avec 39 locuteurs de la communauté de Gaza. Ces aspects descriptifs du dialecte sont présentés dans le cadre d'une discussion plus large sur la nécessité d'une intégration plus holistique de la sociolinguistique, ainsi que de la description et de la documentation linguistique, dans des recherches sur les variétés d'arabe peu étudiées ou menacées.

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