Variation, shifting and identity in Arabic

Hassan R. Abdel-Jawad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper examines different ideological and identity construction functions of linguistic variation and shifting in Arabic through the analysis of the existing literature on language, politics and national identity, arguing that linguistic variation and shifting may be used for constructing/reconstructing, locating/relocating and/or shifting/abandoning identity, and divided/split identity. A few major cases will be surveyed to exemplify this. It is shown that variation and/or shifting in Arabic may reflect different levels of sociopolitical, ethnic, sectarian, and religious grouping/ divisions. In such contexts, language and/or varieties of language serve as markers of identity and as boundary-setters between groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Boundary setting
  • Identity
  • Nationalism
  • Shifting
  • Variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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