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. 307–342
Chapter 14Whither Arabic?
From possible worlds to possible futures
This chapter examines the past and current state of Arabic with a view towards contemplating some possible changes it may undergo in the near future. After noting the current state of Arabic and how it is characterized by multidimensional variation and diversity, past, present, and future, the analysis brings together research on linguistic diversity (retrospective views) with notions of futurology (prospective views) to propose a revised list of procedures for carrying out a futurological project. Arabic will then be examined within this framework in order to evaluate possible scenarios for its future development. Aside from contemplating a future for Arabic, an additional goal is to outline a program of future research which will address the questions of future language development in a more disciplined fashion.
Keywords: variation, diversity, language futurology, Middle Arabic, globalization, centripetal force of language change, centrifugal force of language change, discourse community, linguistic habitat
- Overview of Arabic now: Diversity vs. uniformity
- Towards a framework for language diversity and futurology
- Arabic language futurology
- Defining Arabic: Past, present, future
- Native and non-native views
- Retrospective views: On the temporal dimension (“z axis”)
- Middle and mixed Arabic: The real vs. the ideal
- Prevailing views: From the Temporal Axis to the Geographic
- The sociocultural dimension: On the vertical (y-)axis
- The education effect: Decreasing genomic variation in the macro-habitat (Arab world)
- Al-fuṣḥa in the socio-cultural dimension (y-axis): Monumental time vs. real time
Discourse communities and regimes of identification
- From possible worlds to possible futures: Prospective views
Published online: 18 July 2017
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