Chapter published in:Applied Linguistics in the Middle East and North Africa: Current practices and future directions
Edited by Atta Gebril
[AILA Applied Linguistics Series 15] 2017
► pp. 37–60
Chapter 3Religion and identity in modern Egyptian public discourse
In modern Egypt, language is used as the linchpin for an Egyptian identity that is perceived to be a coherent and holistic one. Public discourse tackles the thorny issue of religious differences between Christians and Muslims by using two strategies: foregrounding and backgrounding. That is, in public discourse religious differences are undermined, and religion as an inclusive general belief system is highlighted. This is achieved through utilizing stance-taking processes and employing linguistic resources such as indexes of different codes/varieties, pronouns, identification categories, and metonymy. Reference to social networks, community of practice theory, and variationist approaches are also essential in helping us understand public discourse claims. Data used to verify these two claims include online articles, movies, and patriotic songs.
- A different approach to data
- First claim in public discourse: Linguistic variation is not dependent on religion
- Data analysis
- Amrīkā shīkā bīkā (‘America: A Fake Dream’) (1983)
- Hammām fī Amstirdām (‘Hammām in Amsterdam’)(1999)
- Ḥasan wa-Murquṣ (“Hassan and Mark’)(2008)
- Lā muʾākhzah (‘Excuse my French’)(2014)
- Second claim of public discourse: Egyptians are religious but religious differences between Christians and Muslims are not salient
- Neutral mention of God
- Mention of local areas that reference religion
- Relating religion to other social variables
Published online: 18 July 2017
Bishārah, K. (Dir.)
Darwīsh, S. (Comp.)
(1919) Qūm yā maṣrī (“Rise up, Egyptian”). Online. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIb_PvQ_kcE, accessed 4 September 2013.
Germanos, M.-A., & Miller, C.
Ḥāmid, Saʿfīd (Dir.)
Spolsky, B., Tushyed, H., & de Bot, K.
(1951) Miṣr tataḥaddath ʿan nafsihā (Egypt speaks about herself). Online. http://youtu.be/itTFqKX8uBk, accessed 4 September 2013.