Neighborhood and ancestry -variation in the spoken Arabic of by Jonathan Owens

By Jonathan Owens

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In the Lake Chad area both varieties exist. The present study is concerned only with the latter. In contrast to the situation in Arabic countries the relation between the two varieties in Nigeria is tenuous in the sense that the literary language has only a minor influence on the spoken language. Three reasons for this may be cited. First, traditionally the written language has been associated most strongly with the religious domain. This is still largely the case today (Owens 1995b), and has been for as long as we have records documenting the use of Arabic in the region.

On the other, Nigerian Arabs are beholden to the 'high' language varieties set them by the larger society. g. those who have studied Arabic in the high schools and university, who may under certain circumstances use an Arabic register which approximates in some ways to the "middle" Arabic which Mitchell terms 'educated spoken Arabic', the spoken Arabic of the educated classes in Arabic countries. In Nigerian Arabic, however, such a variety is severely restricted socially, and in the current environment not able to spread widely in the Arabic-speaking community (see Owens 1997c for detailed discussion).

One would expect alxallás in NA. 26 NEIGHBORHOOD AND ANCESTRY suffixes are -tu, -ta (lsg, 2msg), eg. taxallas-tu 'finished-, which occur in these forms in all contexts In nearly all dialects the final vowel of the suffix is lost. g. Cairene) a final CC# can stand, (taxallis-t#) though in most a final CC# sequence is generally not allowed. ) -a, taxallast → taxallast-a, while the great majority of dialects insert an epenthetic vowel between the last two consonants, taxallast → taxallas-i-t, thereby creating an acceptable CVC# final syllable.

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