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Arabic Historical DialectologyLinguistic and Sociolinguistic Approaches$
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Clive Holes

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198701378

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198701378.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 September 2021

The Arabic dialects of the Gulf

The Arabic dialects of the Gulf

Aspects of their historical and sociolinguistic development

(p.112) 5 The Arabic dialects of the Gulf
Arabic Historical Dialectology

Clive Holes

Oxford University Press

The vocabulary of the modern Gulf Arabic dialects contains many items of ancient Mesopotamian origin; there is also evidence of early south Arabian influences. Historically, three dialect types existed in the region: Najdi, coastal (these two are ‘A dialects’), and Baḥārna (‘B’ dialects). There must long have been contact between these three, but the main interface was between the Najdi and the coastal type. The (Shīˁī) Baḥārna lived in separate settlements, pursued livelihoods specific to them, and did not marry with the other two groups. All of this preserved their dialect. This sociolinguistic division was most evident in the state of Bahrain. In recent decades, changes in employment and increased urbanization have brought about increased interdialectal contact, resulting in the loss of B dialect features and a homogenization of the A dialects to the point that one can now speak of the emergence of a Gulf koine.

Keywords:   Gulf Arabic, Najdi dialect, Baḥārna dialect, Bahrain, dialect typology, Gulf koine, dialect homogenization, Arabic sociolinguistics, Mesopotamian substrate

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