Article published in:Language of Empire, Language of Power
Edited by Kees Versteegh
[Language Ecology 2:1/2] 2018
► pp. 128–146
Pidgin as a counterlanguage
Asian labour migrants and Arab employers speaking
A close-up on the linguistic interactive scene between Arab employers and Asian migrants communicating today in Asian Migrant Pidgin Arabic shows that migrant talk and native Arabs’ foreigner talk are different but interdependent. Here, it appears that the interactants are constantly navigating across one of two continua which sometimes meet and overlap. Arabic Foreigner Talk is further analysed from the perspective of the linguistic strategies deployed by Arabs to exert power over the migrants: self-facilitating, excluding, and mocking strategies. However, from a tool of communication and/or exclusion, the pidgin is also becoming one of transgression used by both Arabs and the migrants to oppose their respective hegemonic cultures – that of the masters for the migrants, that of religion for the Arabs.
Keywords: Arabic Foreigner Talk, Pidgin Madam, Gulf Arabic Pidgin, Asian Migrant Arabic Pidgin, counterlanguage, linguistic accommodation, linguistic variation, linguistic continuum
Published online: 09 November 2018
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