BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    The politics of Pro-ʿāmmiyya language ideology in Egypt

    Aboelezz, Mariam (2017) The politics of Pro-ʿāmmiyya language ideology in Egypt. In: Høigilt, J. and Mejdell, G. (eds.) The Politics of Written Language in the Arab World: Writing change. Studies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics 90. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, pp. 212-238. ISBN 9789004346178.

    [9789004346178 - The Politics of Written Language in the Arab World] The Politics of Pro-͑āmmiyya Language Ideology in Egypt.pdf - Published Version of Record
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

    Download (291kB) | Preview


    The recent changes in the traditional roles played by fuṣḥā and ʿāmmiyya in Egypt point to the complex relationship between these two diglossic poles. In an attempt to further our understanding of why these changes are taking place, this article looks to extra-linguistic aspects for explanation, investigating the political value of fuṣḥā and ʿāmmiyya in contemporary Egypt. To do this, I draw on two interviews conducted in 2010 with proponents of written ʿāmmiyya. The first is an interview with the Liberal Egyptian Party, a party with an ideology of Egyptian separatist nationalism. The second is an interview with Malamih, a publishing house with a leftist, liberal ideology. My analysis of the interviews adopts a discourse-mythological approach (Kelsey 2014), informed by analytical frameworks such as Eisele’s (2003) ‘regimes of authority’, and Omoniyi’s (2006) ‘hierarchy of identities’. I conclude that the interviewees champion ʿāmmiyya for ideologically different reasons. In the first interview, ʿāmmiyya is predictably prodded as a symbol of Egyptian nationalism, whilst fuṣḥā is constructed as a symbol of (rejected) pan-Arabism. The indexicality of ʿāmmiyya in the second interview is more subtle: it is constructed as a marker of anti-institutional discourse; a form whose mere use challenges the regulatory capacity of the regime.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Arabic. Egypt. Diglossia. Language and Politics. Language ideologies
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Mariam Aboelezz
    Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2019 14:09
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:45


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item