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Mapping perceptions of linguistic variation in Qassim, Saudi Arabia, using GIS technology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 May 2020

Yousef Al-Rojaie*
Affiliation:
Qassim University, Department of English & Translation, Buraydah, Qassim, Saudi Arabia
*
Author for correspondence: Yousef Al-Rojaie, Email: yrojaie@qu.edu.sa

Abstract

This study explores perceptions held by speakers of Qassimi Arabic (a variety of Najdi Arabic, spoken in central Saudi Arabia) about linguistic variation in their own dialect, and the sociocultural evaluations associated with their perceptions. Drawing on perceptual dialectology research methods, respondents completed the draw-a-map and labeling tasks. The maps were collected and then analyzed using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software to aggregate, query, and create a composite heat map. Findings indicate that Qassimi speakers perceive regional variation to be associated with urban centers, particularly Buraydah and Unayzah, which were identified as the most salient dialect areas. Analysis of the labeled maps generated six categories of evaluative comments: drawl, influences from other regional dialects, heavy accent, old vocabulary, fast, and affrication. These findings point to the need for further exploration of the underlying ideologies and social values that Arabic speakers have about their own dialects and other dialects in Arabic-speaking communities.

Type
Articles
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2020

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