Chapter published in:Language in Place: Stylistic perspectives on landscape, place and environment
Edited by Daniela Francesca Virdis, Elisabetta Zurru and Ernestine Lahey
[Linguistic Approaches to Literature 37] 2021
► pp. 105–124
Chapter 6The Arabic of Dune
Language and landscape
In the fictional universe of Dune, Frank Herbert’s classic 1965 space opera, the author draws attention to the landscape and the inhabitants of the desert planet by conferring on them Arabic or Arabic-sounding names. Although the Arabic-language borrowings are a salient component of his narrative style, they have not been studied from the point of view of linguistics or from a stylistics approach that analyzes Herbert’s strategic deployment of terms and how they are embedded in his imagined desert world, Arrakis. This essay links Herbert’s discursive strategies with the landscape that he created along the lines of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. His investigation of foreign language lexicons unfolded a rich tapestry of terms which he employed to bring the languages of our time into the worlds of Dune, and to connect the reader with the potent interplay of language and place.
Keywords: Arabic language, Dune (novel), ecology in fiction, Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (SWH), science fiction
- 2.Names and naming in the Dune series
- 3.Herbert’s Arabic
- 4.Language and landscape
- 5.Language and environment
- 6.Names and name-change in the first three Dune
Dune (1965), Dune Messiah (1969),
and Children of Dune (1976)
- 6.1Arrakis, “the dancer”
- 6.2Paul Atreides/Muad’Dib, “the teacher”/Usul, “the base of the pillar”/Lisan al-Gaib “the voice from the other world,” Kwisatz haderach,”the shortening of the way”
- 6.3The princess/priestess Alia, sister to Muad’Dib
- 6.4Ghanima, the daughter of Muad’Dib
- 6.5Assan Tariq – young guide for The Preacher
- 6.6Farad’n → Harq al-Ada, “Breaking the Habit”
- 6.7Shai-hulud, the giant sandworm of Arrakis
- 6.8The Shadout Mapes
- 6.9Sayyadina Jessica
- 6.10The Bene Gesserit
- 6.11Arabic and Slavic names of place
- 7.The legacy of Dune
Published online: 15 April 2021
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