Phonology and the Negotiation of Arab Identity

Daniel Lefkowitz

in Words and Stones

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780195121902
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199788347 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics

 Phonology and the Negotiation of Arab Identity

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This chapter examines social variation in the use of two crucial phonological variables in the linguistic construction of Arabness, and therefore constitute a core trope in Israeli constructions of Self and Other. These phonological variables involve variable realizations of the two Hebrew pharyngeal phonemes ⁄☐⁄ (called “ayin”) and ⁄ħ⁄ (called “het”). For each pharyngeal and nonpharyngeal pronunciations are used. Data show that Jewish Israelis avoid pharyngealized forms, while Palestinian Israelis embrace them. The chapter explicates the strategic use to which variation in pharyngealization is put in social interaction, beginning with a discussion of the social and linguistic history of the pharyngeal phonemes.

Keywords: language; phonological variables; pharyngealization; Jewish Israelis; Palestinian Israelis; social interaction; sociolinguistics; Hebrew

Chapter.  8652 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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