The Sociolinguistic Market in Cairo: Gender, Class and Education.Niloofar Haeri. The Sociolinguistic so·ci·o·lin·guis·tics
n. (used with a sing. verb)
The study of language and linguistic behavior as influenced by social and cultural factors.
so Market in Cairo. Gender, Class and Education. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Columbia University Press Columbia University Press is an academic press based in New York City and affiliated with Columbia University. It is currently directed by James D. Jordan (2004-present) and publishes titles in the humanities and sciences, including the fields of literary and cultural studies, , 1997. 273 pages. Hardcover $110.
Haeri offers an empirical sociolinguistic investigation of the roles of gender, social class, and education in the use of classical and non-classical Arabic in Cairo, Egypt. Her work brings together many important issues of Arabic sociolinguistics sociolinguistics, the study of language as it affects and is affected by social relations. Sociolinguistics encompasses a broad range of concerns, including bilingualism, pidgin and creole languages, and other ways that language use is influenced by contact among with the aim of understanding stylistic variation in Cairo.
The book consists of seven chapters. Chapter one briefly sketches the theoretical frameworks from which the book draws; namely Labov's variationist paradigm, Ferguson's diglossia diglossia
Coexistence of two varieties of the same language in a speech community, with each variety being more or less standardized and occupying a distinct sociolinguistic niche. , a model which stresses the functional differences of classical (high) and non-classical (low) varieties in Arabic speech communities, and Bourdieu's concept of linguistic market.
Haeri introduces the concept of the "standard variety", which is crucial in understanding the instantiation (programming) instantiation - Producing a more defined version of some object by replacing variables with values (or other variables).
1. In object-oriented programming, producing a particular object from its class template. problem of language change in the variationist paradigm. Sociolinguistic theory has it that social groups who use non-standard or new variants are those who initiate and promote linguistic change, while those who resist it and persist in Verb 1. persist in - do something repeatedly and showing no intention to stop; "We continued our research into the cause of the illness"; "The landlord persists in asking us to move"
continue using "standard" or old variants are said to be conservative.
Interpreting the role of men and women in language change along these lines has revealed a paradox in the linguistic behavior of women: women are "innovative" and "conservative" at the same time. That is, women lead men in targeting and achieving the standard variant in situations of stable variation, i.e., when the variant is above the level of consciousness in the community; and they lead men in targeting and achieving an innovation when the variant is a change in progress, i.e., when the variant is below the level of social awareness. Haeri argues that" a 'paradox' can exist only if we assume that the social meanings of all variable forms are directly comparable to each other theoretically, and from the point of view of the speakers who use them" (p.4}
Surprisingly, Haeri does not entertain the idea that a paradox may not exist at all if women are not a priori a priori
In epistemology, knowledge that is independent of all particular experiences, as opposed to a posteriori (or empirical) knowledge, which derives from experience. taken to behave in a monolithic way. Treating women as a single group based exclusively on their shared biological traits is both an empirical and a theoretical oversimplification o·ver·sim·pli·fy
v. o·ver·sim·pli·fied, o·ver·sim·pli·fy·ing, o·ver·sim·pli·fies
To simplify to the point of causing misrepresentation, misconception, or error.
Haeri moves on to discuss the co-existence of Classical and Egyptian Arabic “Masri” redirects here. For other uses, see Masri (disambiguation).
Egyptian Arabic (Maṣrī مصري) is a variety of the Arabic macrolanguage on stylistic variation: diglossia. She observes that variation in diglossic communities has been conceptualized as a competition between H and L levels. She strongly rejects the notion of the "intermediate" variety known as Educated Spoken Arabic, to which some scholars have resorted to account for the mixture between Classical and non-classical Arabic in the speech of educated speakers. She contends that the source of the problem lies in insisting on considering non-classical varieties as "colloquial col·lo·qui·al
1. Characteristic of or appropriate to the spoken language or to writing that seeks the effect of speech; informal.
2. Relating to conversation; conversational. " varieties instead of full-fledged languages. She disagrees with the idea that the intermediate variety is a separate entity and argues that intermediate varieties are stylistic resources that Egyptian speakers exploit along the Arabic stylistic continuum. It is not clear from Haeri's discussions, however, what counts as an entity and what does not. Furthermore, she states that the speech of educated Egyptians is "one of the styles in wh ich Egyptian Arabic under certain conditions is spoken"(p.14). Haeri does not elaborate on what these conditions are, or what the social meanings of this style shifting might be. I believe that whether intermediate varieties are separate entities in their own right, or mere stylistic resources is not nearly as important as what speakers accomplish by exploiting the stylistic continuum and the switching between varieties itself.
Chapter two gives a detailed description of the methodology used in sampling the Cairene speech community. Haeri relied on sociolinguistic interviews for data elicitation and adopted analytical techniques of the standard quantitative approach of urban sociolinguistics. In this approach, the linguistic behavior of a speech community is based on frequency-counts of standard and non-standard variables across stylistic and social stratification Noun 1. social stratification - the condition of being arranged in social strata or classes within a group
condition - a mode of being or form of existence of a person or thing; "the human condition" . The linguistic variants Haeri examined are phonological pho·nol·o·gy
n. pl. pho·nol·o·gies
1. The study of speech sounds in language or a language with reference to their distribution and patterning and to tacit rules governing pronunciation.
2. , namely palatalization Palatalization or palatalisation (IPA: /ˌpælətəlɨˈzeɪʃən/) generally refers to two phenomena:
palatal (pal´t place of articulation In articulatory phonetics, the place of articulation (also point of articulation) of a consonant is the point of contact, where an obstruction occurs in the vocal tract between an active (moving) articulator (typically some part of the tongue) and a passive (stationary) usually in assimilation to a neighboring palatal sound such as /i/ and /y/. The social factors she considered evolve around age, gender, socio-economic class Noun 1. socio-economic class - people having the same social, economic, or educational status; "the working class"; "an emerging professional class"
social class, stratum, class , and education of subjects. The stylistic types used also reflect the standard
Labovian division of styles into casual speech and careful speech, which consists of reading from a word list.
Haeri's reevaluation of the diglossic High and Low distinction requires her to assume that speaking and reading from a list constitute a stylistic continuum in diglossic setting, as might be the case in non-diglossic setting. However, there is a great distance between spoken and written Arabic. For example, Keith Walters has demonstrated that "speaking" and "reading aloud" in Arabic are two unrelated activities, both cognitively and socially. Thus, deciding a priori that the notion of style is homogeneous and directly comparable in Arabic-speaking speech communities and English-speaking speech communities is ignoring the different social meanings that seemingly similar stylistic activities encode in the two speech communities.
Chapter three illustrates the linguistic and sociolinguistic characterization of palatalization. Based on articulatory and spectrographic spec·tro·graph
1. A spectroscope equipped to photograph or otherwise record spectra.
2. A spectrogram.
spec analyses, Haeri distinguished frication (weak palatalization) and affrication (strong palatalization) of dental stops /t, d, T, D, tt, dd/ next to palatal sounds.
Investigation of the social distribution of palatalization shows that women's speeches reflect frequent and advanced palatalization, while men's do not. Weak palatalization was shown to be higher among young women speakers, and it is argued that palatalization is a sound change in progress with women from the upper classes in the lead. On the other hand, women in the lower classes use strong palatalization the most. Haeri argues that this is a result of hypercorrection hy·per·cor·rec·tion
1. A construction or pronunciation produced by mistaken analogy with standard usage out of a desire to be correct, as in the substitution of I for me in on behalf of my parents and I.
2. . That is, motivated by prestige and upward mobility upward mobility
The state of being upwardly mobile.
movement from a lower to a higher economic and social status , lower class women try to imitate the speech of the upper class but miss the target and end up with affrication rather than frication.
Chapter four examines the linguistic and sociolinguistic dimensions of the reappearance of the Classical qaf in the Cairene speech community. Historically, qaf merged with the hamza ham·za also ham·zah
A sign in Arabic orthography used to represent the sound of a glottal stop, transliterated in English as an apostrophe. (the glottal stop glottal stop
A speech sound produced by a momentary complete closure of the glottis, followed by an explosive release.
Phonetics ), except in some restricted domains mainly religious ones. However, with the spread of mass education, which brought forth exposure to Classical Arabic Classical Arabic, also known as Koranic (or Qur'anic) Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language used in the Qur'an as well as in numerous literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times (7th to 9th centuries). , classical qaf has reentered Cairene Arabic speech. Because the qaf variable shows an interaction between Classical Arabic and Egyptian Arabic, Haeri coins the term "diglossic variable" to distinguish it from sociolinguistic variables in both diglossic and non-diglossic settings.
From the outset of this chapter, Haeri states that the use of the qaf is the most common borrowing from Classical Arabic. She provides a comprehensive review of diachronic di·a·chron·ic
Of or concerned with phenomena as they change through time. and synchronic syn·chron·ic
2. Of or relating to the study of phenomena, such as linguistic features, or of events of a particular time, without reference to their historical context. analyses for the qaf and presents competing approaches for its presence in modern dialects of Arabic. She concluded, following the analysis of older studies, that the qaf reappearance can be accounted for by lexical borrowing model rather than the application of a rule as some recent studies have postulated pos·tu·late
tr.v. pos·tu·lat·ed, pos·tu·lat·ing, pos·tu·lates
1. To make claim for; demand.
2. To assume or assert the truth, reality, or necessity of, especially as a basis of an argument.
In the second part of this chapter, Haeri explores the social groups in which qaf has re-appeared. Findings show that men in all educational levels and social classes have a significantly higher usage of the Classical/ Standard qaf than women. This implies that the linguistic behavior of Cairene women is less "conservative" than men, a finding that corroborates findings of previous studies across the Arab world “Arab States” redirects here. For the political alliance, see Arab League.
The Arab World (Arabic: العالم العربي; Transliteration: al-`alam al-`arabi) stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the . Furthermore, upper class speakers with the highest levels of education were not the ones who most frequently use this Classical/ Standard variable. These results are a very useful aspect in Haeri's study because they stand in sharp contrast to those in non-diglossic speech communities where women, more than men, and upper classes, more than lower classes, use standard variants the most.
Chapter five offers explanations that aim at resolving the unusual finding of gender, class and education patterns in the Cairene speech community. Haeri rightly rejects previous accounts that regard the less conservative linguistic behavior of women in Arab societies
To this end, Haeri reaches out to Bourdieu's notion of the linguistic market, which stresses the importance of symbolic capital for access to the labor market labor market A place where labor is exchanged for wages; an LM is defined by geography, education and technical expertise, occupation, licensure or certification requirements, and job experience and upward social mobility. Because knowledge of the standard is often a valuable piece of capital, this has led to linking greater use of the standard of official variety to dominant groups who belong to upper classes. Haeri argues this notion proves to be helpful in explaining the dynamics of the sociolinguistic settings of Western speech communities but is inadequate to provide an accurate picture for the sociolinguistic situation in Cairo.
Haeri argues that in Cairo it is speakers' bi- or multi-lingualism rather than their use of Classical/Standard Arabic that secures better access to the labor market and casts one as belonging to the upper class. She observes that the linguistic market of Cairo requires multiple "currencies" and that the "currency" of Standard Arabic is by no means the only nor the most eminent currency. Rather, it is knowledge and use of other languages, like English, German or French that is of utmost importance in the Cairene linguistic market. This sheds some light on why members of the upper classes in Cairene speech community are not the ones who know nor use the standard language the most, as is the case in non-diglossic speech communities.
Furthermore, Haeri argues that the repertoire of the Cairene speech community consists of more than one standard variety. Thus, there are two kinds of standard varieties, a Classical standard; and non-classical standard. The Classical standard is based on Classical/Standard Arabic and derives its dominance and prestige from its direct link to Islamic culture and civilization. The non-classical standard, or urban Cairene, on the other hand, draws its dominance and prestige from its association with the social dialect of urban, upper class social groups.
Haeri re-examines gender patterns along these lines and concluded that the linguistic behavior of women in Cairo is not any less "conservative" than women around the world with respect to the use of the standard variety. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , by directly comparing Cairene women's use of non-classical standard variants with women's use of standard variants in non-diglossic communities she showed that Cairene women can be interpreted as using standard urban dialectal forms. However, Haeri acknowledges that non-classical standard Arabic is not a conservative variety because it co-exists with a more conservative variety: Classical Arabic.
Haeri rejects the idea that women's less conservative behavior with regard to qaf usage (that is, their use of the hamza rather than the classical qaf) is a matter of differential access to education, which does not hold in this case because subjects included men and women with equivalent education. To explain women's less frequent use of Classical Arabic features, Haeri draws out attention to the different practices of men and women in domains where classical Arabic functions as a religious language, such as praying aloud in the case of men versus praying in silence in the case of women. Thus, reciting prayers out loud, Haeri argues, provides men with an opportunity and a stage to perform these prayers with an accurate pronunciation, an activity that is required and highly valued.
Chapter six explores speakers' attitudes and ideologies towards Classical/Standard Arabic versus Cairene Arabic and men's versus women's. Haeri found ambivalent attitudes toward Classical Arabic. On the one hand, speakers regard Classical Arabic as correct, beautiful and powerful but at the same time they believe that it is rigid and lacks humor. Speakers expressed their fear of using the Classical variety because of its prescriptive grammatical rules. Haeri proposes that speakers' attitudes toward Classical Arabic should be explored in different contexts and genres. Furthermore, Haeri found that the speakers have overwhelmingly positive attitudes toward their mother tongue mother tongue
1. One's native language.
2. A parent language.
the language first learned by a child
Noun 1. , Cairene Arabic. Speakers were not able to pinpoint the phonological differences in the speech of men and women, but they did report differences in lexical items.
Chapter seven sums up the main theoretical issues and empirical findings and offers suggestion for future research.
The book is decidedly a valuable contribution to Arabic sociolinguistics and to the theory of sociolinguistics in general. It should be praised for: (1) deconstructing the notion of the "standard" language and bringing to bear the notion of competing standards in explaining linguistic changes in the Cairene speech community; and (2) for reaching out to frameworks outside the sociolinguistic arena, which allows for the inclusion of ethnographic details in explaining the linguistic behavior of certain social groups. In addition, the book is to be congratulated for directing our attention to variation that does not involve diglossia and Classical Arabic in Arabic speech communities.
Haeri's lengthy discussion of styles, standards and variation presents some valuable new perspectives on outstanding questions in the field. However, it highlights some important sociolinguistic issues for further attention. An integration of the social meanings of historical and socio-cultural changes that have taken place in Arabic-speaking speech communities and how these changes are reflected in language use and identity construction remains a profitable avenue for future research.
Atiqa Hachimi is a Ph.D. candidate in linguistics at the University of Hawaii (body, education) University of Hawaii - A University spread over 10 campuses on 4 islands throughout the state.
See also Aloha, Aloha Net. at Manoa.