Edited by Daniela Francesca Virdis, Elisabetta Zurru and Ernestine Lahey
[Linguistic Approaches to Literature 37] 2021
► pp. 105–124
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.