A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, April 15, 2013

Arab Spring and When to Use Colloquial Arabic

Duncan Wane has a useful overview at Muftah called "The Many Arabics of Politics", a sort of compendium of how, during the Arab uprisings, the leaders' use of Arabic evolved with attempts to sound more informal as the crisis deepened. In our ongoing discussion of diglossia and classical vs. colloquial Arabic, we've touched on this before (such as when Ben Ali said he was going to speak in colloquial and then didn't). Wane's scorecard: Ben Ali and Mubarak stayed formal mostly to the end; Qadhafi more colloquial (but not his son Saif); Asad the most formal of all; Salih in Yemen and Bashir in Sudan more informal.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

Noteworthy that the "street" in the uprising used a formal Arabic slogan starting in Tunisia and reverberating from the Maghreb to Cairo to the Mashriq: ash-sha'ab yurid isqat an-nidham. Example of Arab unity despite all the diversity in the various uprisings and government responses.