Identification of the Impact OF HETEROGENEOUS
Community on the Speech of Basri
Dialect Speakers of Arabic:
A SOCIOLINGUISTIC STUDY
Eftekhar Tawfiq Abdul Muhsin Al Dughman
The heterogeneity of the community has a great influence on the speech of Basri dialect speakers of Arabic. Basrah as a cosmopolitan city had been a target for different types of nations and communities due to its strategic location at the top of the Arab Gulf and being the only port to Iraq. The variety of nations, cultures and languages has a great impact on the linguistic features of the Basri Arabic. The mixture of these languages and cultures in Basrah has created a linguistic tension between the systems of the source languages and that of the Arabic spoken in Basrah. This has led to the formation of a dialect distinct to the city and is so different from all the other dialects spoken in the rest of Iraq.
This study aims to investigate empirically the impact of having a heterogeneous community on the speech of Basri Iraqi-Arabic speakers. The Basri Iraqi-Arabic dialect spoken in the city centre has been selected in contrast with the dialects spoken in Abul-Khaseeb and Az-Zubair. The comparison is geared to finding out that whether these sub-dialects have undergone a similar impact or not and whether the geographical distribution of these sub-dialects makes any difference.
To accomplish the objective of the present study, the following hypotheses have been proffered:
1- There is no significant effect of the heterogeneity of the community on the speech of Basri dialect.
2- There are no significant dialectal differences between the Basri dialect and the sub-dialects spoken in Az-Zubair and Abul-Khaseeb.
3- Geographical location has no effect on the type of dialect(s) selected by the community.
The quantitative sociolinguistic approach and a judgment sample of speakers has been selected contrasted according to class. The sample has been obtained from a group of people representing different social groups depending on different social variables such as: age, sex, class, etc. A sample of 56 male and female informants selected from three different districts in Basrah: Basrah City centre, Abul-Khaseeb at the south east and Az-Zubair at the south west, in order to find out whether there has been an impact or not and if so how far. Data has been collected through recorded interviews that lasted for about 30 minutes each. To ascertain the face validity, the topics of interview have been submitted to jury members in the field of English Language and Linguistics. Dictionaries and encyclopaedias have been used to check the original meaning and pronunciation of the loanwords as they are used in the specified languages, which are listed in appendices at the end of the thesis.
Data analysis has revealed the following facts. First, that the geographical location has a great impact on the language spoken and the kind of borrowings. Second, all the three districts in the study have been influenced a lot by the heterogeneity of the community but not at the same rate, level or kind. All the loanwords borrowed have been adapted to the linguistic features of the Arabic Language and Basri Arabic phonologically and morphologically. Third, the dialect spoken in Basrah today is different from that was spoken fifty years ago. Age has proved to be an effective variable. It has a strong and a systematic impact on the participants’ elicited loanword adaptation. Therefore, more studies and thorough investigations should be conducted on the characteristics of the dialect of Al-Basrah before it dies out and disappears forever. Most of the borrowings in BA were related to human and social needs, while the new generation’s borrowings tend to be more technical. Although Abul-Khaseeb and Az-Zubair are different areas geographically and socially, and have completely different varieties, they share many linguistic features. These features need to be identified and studied thoroughly.
A number of suggestions have been put forward for further studies about the Basri dialect and its other linguistic features and the dialects of Basrah in the other districts need to be studied also.