Georgetown University Round Table 2010

Arabic Language and Linguistics, March 12 - 14

Arabic Language Ideologies and the New Media

Keith Walters
Portland State University

In this workshop, we will first examine the nature of language ideologies�"cultural system of ideas about social and linguistic relationships, together with their loading of moral and political interests" (Irvine, 1989)�with respect to Arabic, specifically beliefs about standardized varieties of Arabic, the dialects, diglossia, diglossic switching, and codeswitching. Using a YouTube video and the comments posted about it as data for analysis, we will seek to consider the ways in which the new media, in particular, create sites where, on the one hand, Arabic language ideologies are made manifest while, on the other, they are simultaneously called into question. Our goal will be to share insights based on these data and our own experiences in order to develop a richer understanding of the nature of language ideologies in Arabic-speaking communities and how they continue to involve, at least partially because of social change, including technological innovation like the new media. We will also discuss how such changing ideologies have consequences for issues in language policy and planning.