GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
The Impact of Global Communication on Dialect Use in Saudi Arabia: a Linguistic Investigation of Najdi Arabic in Internet Relay Chat
Paper Proposal Text :
Najdi Arabic, a variety of Arabic spoken in the Arabian Peninsula, does not have a standard official orthography and it is only used in informal oral communication. With the rapid growth of internet and technology and with the development of Computer-mediated Communication (CMC), Najdi Arabic is nowadays widely used in online text-based communications. The preliminary evidence suggests that CMC provides a venue for two socio-linguistic occurrences, the translation of a spoken dialect into writing and the mutual acceptability of colloquial usage online.

In this paper, I aim to situate the study of Najdi Arabic within a broader field of linguistics which allows analysis from a number of perspectives. I adopt Computer-Mediated Discourse approach (Herring, 2004) for observing, categorizing, coding and interpretation of data. Through lenses of linguistic signs, I analyze online interactions in terms of linguistic and orthographic representation of Najdi Arabic. Results indicate that Romanized Arabic in CMC has changed from being a response to technical limitation into a code of the medium in which it is used. These creative linguistic and orthographic features seem to function as a marker of the participants’ belonging to cyberspace identity. Like many other Arabs in CMC, Najdi users of the Internet have successfully promoted their non-standard variety in the global environment. I argue that CMC has a unique capability to change sociolinguistic perspectives of language use and script choice.

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