Volume 9, Numéro 1, Pages 463-481

Directions Of Dialect Change In The Mashreq And The Maghreb: Case Of Arabic Varieties Spoken In Amman And Tlemcen Speech Communities

Authors : Hammoudi Khadidja . Dendane Zoubir .


The present paper attempts to investigate the results of dialectal contact and accommodation taking place in two geographically and linguistically divergent speech communities, namely Amman, the capital of Jordan in the Levant, and Tlemcen, an urban city in Northwestern Algeria in the Maghreb. In addition to exploring the direction that dialect change takes in both communities, the emphasis of this research is put on understanding the motives that lead native speakers to adopt the outsiders’ variety. With the help of a mixed-methods approach to participant sampling, data collection and analysis, the study reveals that native speakers of both varieties exercise different paths of dialectal change. Whereas Amman participants are moving towards an urbanization process, Tlemcen speakers feel their urban dialect is stigmatized and are therefore riding a counter-hierarchical change towards dialect ruralization. We have also found that the motivation for shift or maintenance is supported by the need of social approval by both genders. Age has also proved to be an influential factor for aspects of convergence, divergence and even levelling. The conclusion of this study ends up suggesting that the two speech communities are undergoing a koineization process paving the way for a regional koiné.


Accommodation ; counter-hierarchical change ; dialect ; ruralization ; urbanization