Serreli, Valentina (2016) Society, languages and ideologies in the Oasis of Siwa (Egypt): listening to people’s voices. Doctoral Thesis.
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The present thesis proposes a linguistic ethnography of the oasis of Siwa, an Amazigh enclave situated in the Western Egyptian desert. De facto independent for centuries, it is only during the 20th century that this area started undergoing processes of modernization and Arabization with a consequent inclusion in the national (Egyptian) and the international (Amazigh) arenas. Although representing an interesting field for sociolinguistic research, this subject has not attracted scholarly attention so far and this work is a first attempt to fill that gap.
This research has a multidisciplinary approach built on sociolinguistic and linguistic anthropological theories. It falls into the field of language attitudes and ideologies’ studies, and it developed a combined method including ethnographic interviewing and participant observation.
The thesis presents the dynamics of language use within the oasis from an insider perspective and discusses the mechanisms and the ideologies underlying both speakers’ practices and attitudes, arguing that the emerging differentiation of linguistic practices is related to the attitudinal variation across specific social categories, which adhere to different ideologies. The study portrays a multiform community in a phase of socio-economic transition and sociolinguistic change in progress.
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