Revisiting Levels of Contemporary Arabic in Egypt

Essays on Arabic Varieties in Memory of El-Said Badawi

Zeinab A. Taha

El-Said Badawi’s seminal Mustawayāt al-ʕarabiyya al-muʕāṣira fī Miṣr (Levels of Contemporary Arabic in Egypt) was first published in Arabic

English edition
3 March 2020
336 pp.
20 tables, 5 illus.
15 x 23cm
ISBN 9789774169663
For sale worldwide

$60.00

El-Said Badawi’s seminal Mustawayāt al-ʕarabiyya al-muʕāṣira fī Miṣr (Levels of Contemporary Arabic in Egypt) was first published in Arabic in 1973. Its theory of interrelated language levels that are ever-changing along a sociolinguistic continuum inspired a generation of Arabists and Arabic-language educators to re-examine Arabic varieties from a wide range of perspectives, transforming the way scholars carried out research on language variation, lexicography, and teaching Arabic as a foreign language. Since that time, Arabic has witnessed major changes in the way its spoken and written forms are practiced, but informed, scholarly publications on the current reality of the linguistic landscape have been few and far between. This collective study, with contributions from renowned scholars of Arabic linguistics, draws on empirical data to bring together original new research on spoken and written language varieties in Egypt today.
Thematically, Revisiting Levels of Contemporary Arabic in Egypt explores three broad but interconnected areas: Arabic varieties in context, challenges to Badawi’s Levels model, and the pedagogical implications of varying levels in teaching Arabic as a foreign language. It not only discusses the current applicability of Badawi’s model to contexts such as contemporary Egyptian newspapers and Facebook, but looks at empirical data related to colloquial varieties in Egypt and elsewhere, the role of context in their current use, and the approaches to documenting and deriving colloquial lexicons. It also examines linguistic styles in different genres and contexts and for different audiences.

To read an excerpt, click here.

For the Table of Contents, click here.

Zeinab A. Taha

Zeinab A. Taha is an associate professor of Arabic language and linguistics at the American University in Cairo. She received her PhD from Georgetown University in 1995. She has been working in the field of teaching Arabic as a foreign language (TAFL) for over thirty years at universities in the United States and Europe and at the Arabic Language Institute of the American University in Cairo, where she assumed the position of director in addition to being co-director of the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad (CASA). She has been teaching in the MA TAFL program since 2005. Her publications are in the field of applied and theoretical linguistics, especially on grammatical theory and language variation.
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