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Sociocultural Identity and Arab Women's and Men's Code-Choice in the Context of Patriarchy

From: Anthropological Linguistics
Volume 54, Number 3, Fall 2012
pp. 261-279 | 10.1353/anl.2012.0018



This article investigates young women's and men's speech in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during a formal interview. Women frequently employed vernacular pronunciation and showed greater use of dialectal Arabic lexicon, often distinctively more localized. Men, on the other hand, approximated more closely to Standard Arabic speech. In the context of Arab patriarchy, it is argued that each gender's preference for code choice can be explained by social and cultural norms that impose differential entitlements to the public sphere. Social meaning conveyed by speakers' code choices is described in relation to the social indexical effect of each variety.

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