Pilot project

The Dialects of Arabic project aims to provide a documentation of dialect variation in Arabic, and to research key issues in the structural and sociolinguistic development of Arabic dialects. Drawing on a comprehensive questionnaire and free speech samples, the project is generating a corpus of data that will be accessible to students, researchers, and the Arabic-speaking community via the project website. The questionnaire is designed to cover major aspects of morpho-syntactic typology, key inflectional paradigms and historical phonology. It will offer a state of the art resource and provide new opportunities to compare the structural representation of key features across the dialects of Arabic, taking a function-to-form and a form-to-form approach. The pilot covers dialects spoken in fifteen different countries, based on data recorded and transcribed between 2012-2017 by the project staff. The recordings were carried out among native speakers of the various dialects, the majority residing in the locations of origin. We plan to expand on the pilot by adding further varieties from additional regions, locations, sectors and communities. The resource is intended to support research, teaching and learning at various levels, efforts to maintain Arabic among the younger generations of migrants in diaspora communities, as well as forensic linguistic procedures. Accompanying projects include research into inter-dialect contacts, language maintenance and language provisions in migrant communities; bilingualism and contact induced change in Arabic; grammaticalisation; linguistic landscapes; Arabic on social media; Arabic in LADO procedures; and descriptive outlines of Arabic varieties.