“Written language but easily to use!”
Perceptions of continuity and discontinuity between written/oral modes in the Lebanese context of biliteracy and diglossia
Questions of biliteracy and multiliteracies increasingly move into the centre of literacy research. This paper focuses on the question how perceptions of spoken and written language are shaped by diglossia and multilingual language practices in Lebanon. A brief introduction to the language situation in modern Lebanon, plus a discussion of the basic concepts of literacy and diglossia, are followed by a study of excerpts of a series of qualitative case studies, conducted in Beirut. Multilingualism in Lebanon is characterised by a dominance of colloquial Lebanese Arabic in oral discourse; this contrasts with the use of a variety of languages — English, French and Modern Standard Arabic — in the written domain. The analysis of statements taken from the interviews suggests that perceptions of continuity and discontinuity between the spoken/written modes are related to and shaped by diglossia. The paper ends with an outlook on educational implications.
Cited by 2 other publications
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