Wandering in the Algerian desert: an investigation into the attitudes of adult L1 Algerian Arabic speakers towards nomadic Ouled Naïl Arabic speech

Khoumikham, Rachid (2022) Wandering in the Algerian desert: an investigation into the attitudes of adult L1 Algerian Arabic speakers towards nomadic Ouled Naïl Arabic speech. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Social evaluations of specific speech varieties are important since they reflect stereotypes surrounding the perceived speech communities. However, there is presently a scarcity of sociolinguistic research investigating Algerian nationals' language attitudes toward Algerian Arabic Vernaculars (AVA), including towards Nomadic Ouled Naïl Arabic.

To help overcome this research gap, the present sociolinguistic project employs a mixed-methods approach to investigate adult L1 AVA speakers' attitudes towards five specific AVA varieties: Nomadic Ouled Naïl Arabic, Algiers Vernacular, Eastern Algerian Arabic Vernacular, Western Algerian Arabic Vernacular, Southern Algerian Arabic Vernacular. To investigate these perceptions, an indirect verbal-guise study was employed (N=700). A follow up interview was also conducted amongst a sample of these participants (N=32).

Multivariate analysis of the verbal-guise data suggested participants' attitudes were organised along two attitudinal dimensions - social status and social attractiveness - with urban varieties generally evaluated higher on status and rural varieties rated higher on attractiveness. However, Nomadic Ouled Naïl Arabic was frequently rated the lowest on both dimensions. More specifically, in terms of status, participants` sex and education level were found to account for the evaluations of AVA varieties, with females and those with a higher level of education favouring urban varieties, while males favoured rural and nomadic varieties. Moreover, education and sex were found to have a significant interaction effect on the status evaluations of one urban variety (Eastern Algerian Arabic Vernacular), with educated females ratings found to be higher than female high-schoolers. Regarding attractiveness, age, provenance, and education were found to explain differences in evaluations of AVA varieties, with young adults and higher education individuals favouring urban varieties, while elderly adults, high schoolers, and nomadic individuals favouring rural and nomadic varieties.

Further fine-grained analysis of the interview data revealed that participants were frequently more tolerant of Nomadic Ouled Naïl Arabic (ANON) when compared to the evaluations uncovered in the verbal guise study. Furthermore, the interview findings indicated a number of specific phonological, syntactic, discursive, and socio-pragmatic features that triggered adult L1 Algerian Arabic speakers' attitudes toward (speakers of) ANON. The interview data also revealed that adult L1 Algerian Arabic speakers tended to associate ANON with poor communication and managerial skills.

By contextualising the findings within research conducted in the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere, this study contributes to a broader understanding of language attitudes in the MENA region. The thesis concludes with recommendations for policymakers and researchers to tackle prejudice towards Algerian nomads.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: social evaluation, verbal guise test, urban Arabic rural Arabic, Middle East and North Africa
Subjects: T900 Others in Eastern, Asiatic, African, American and Australasian Languages, Literature and related subjects
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2023 15:02
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2023 15:02
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/51619

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