Lexical Variation in the Cairene Slum Vernacular and Its Impact on the Prestigious Variety
Keywords:Cairene slum vernacular, lexical variation, diglossia, variation, and change in Egyptian Arabic
This variationist study attempts to provide an insightful profile of the slum vernacular of the Cairene dialect via formal and social analyses of some vocabulary, phrases, and expressions. It investigates how language varies among the slum speakers in Cairo and what are the social and linguistic roles that this variation plays. The corpus of this study has been attained through close observations, repertoire, and immediate communication with the slum speakers in Cairo. The formal analysis of this study concluded that this variation is often based on the linguistic deviation that poets, dramatists, and novelists use to be creative, inventive, or different. The correlation between the variation and the socioeconomic status of the slum speakers in Cairo is intriguing and suggests that the social setting plays a crucial role in shaping the speech in a given community. The study has revealed that variation in the Cairene dialect functions as an index of the social factors such as socioeconomic status and the area of residence that are distinctive to the Cairene slum communities and helps establish rapport among the slum speakers in Cairo. Moreover, many words and expressions of the Cairene slum vernacular in Cairo have diffused in the prestigious variety for social and linguistic reasons. The study has pointed out that the impact of the Cairene slum vernacular on the youth of the prestigious variety is patent. The two varieties are separably used in their talk and this gives the Cairene dialect a diglossic nature as they confine each variety for some specific uses.
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