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Ferguson's article Diglossia, is his prognosis for Arabic accurate today (50 years later) Is Arabic on its way to becom - Essay Example

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ARABIC DIGLOSSIA Ferguson (1963) defined Diglossia as “a relatively stable language situation in which, in addition to the primary dialects of the language (which may include a standard or regional standards), there is a very different, highly codified (often grammatically more complex), superposed variety, the means of a large and respected body of written literature, either of an earlier period or in another speech community, which is learned largely by formal education and is used for most written and formal spoken purposes but is not used by any sector of the community for ordinary discussion.” …
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Fergusons article Diglossia, is his prognosis for Arabic accurate today (50 years later) Is Arabic on its way to becom
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ARABIC DIGLOSSIA Ferguson (1963) defined Diglossia as “a relatively stable language situation in which, in addition to the primary dialects of the language (which may include a standard or regional standards), there is a very different, highly codified (often grammatically more complex), superposed variety, the means of a large and respected body of written literature, either of an earlier period or in another speech community, which is learned largely by formal education and is used for most written and formal spoken purposes but is not used by any sector of the community for ordinary discussion.” . According to Ferguson, there are four clear problems involving diglossia: the form on how words should be listed, if cited in L form the choice between the L varieties, the spelling to be used, and how to represent. Given these problems, the development of diglossia will not be easy. Since Arabic does not use Roman alphabet, there will be a lot of difficulties along the way. Ferguson (1963) said that Arabic alphabet is even less feasible than the Greek. He identified two most serious and obvious problems in Arabic diglossia. The first problem is transliteration of Arabic spelling and the next is the phenomic transcription of Arabic (Ferguson, 1963). Transcription is not a very easy process. Thus, this possesses a difficulty in Arabic diglossia. But even if diglossia is said to be unstable and have lots of problems, Ferguson said that it is not the case. Evidences show that it can last over the years. According to Ferguson, the use of relatively uncodified, unstable, intermediate forms of languages and repeated vocabulary items from H to L can resolve the issues of diglossia. Constant use of the language can help resolve the problem of instability. When people use the language as often as they can or even every day, they will surely keep up and get used to new words and will eventually fully understand the language. I believe that Arabic is on its way already to becoming several standard languages. But the reason for this is the need of the people to establish standard languages for them to be able to understand each other and will be able to adapt a common language. These standard languages will be used by the Arabs to communicate and even in the development of their community. Ferguson (1963) said that diglossia right now is accepted and not regarded as a “problem” of the community, until certain trends appear in the community. These trends include the widespread literacy, broader communication among regional and social segments of community, and lastly, the desire for a full-pledge standard “national” language as an attribute of autonomy and sovereignty (Ferguson, 1963). When the community asks for a newly established standard language to use in communication or education, there will not be problem in diglossia. People will try their best to accept the language and adapt it. It might take some time for people to get used to a new standard language, but they will eventually be able to adjust and make good use of this language. I believe that Ferguson’s prediction about Arabic diglossia is coming true. According to him, Arabic language will have a slow development toward standard languages. The Arabic language is now on its way to development of newly formed language. As of today, we can notice the spread of the literacy and development of the Arab community. Our generation today characterize a developing world. Arabic language also recognizes a Modern Standard Arabic. A language used in communication and Quran. This standard language can be said to be the best proof of the development of the language. Therefore, Ferguson’s prognosis about Arabic language can be said to be coming true. Even if there are problems along the way, the Arabic language stayed and developed. References: Ferguson, C. (1963). Diglossia. In Anwar Dil (Ed.). Language Structure and Language Use. (345-350). Stanford, California: Stanford University Press Read More
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