First Advisor

Dirgham H. Sbait

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in World Languages & Literatures: Arabic and University Honors


World Languages and Literatures


Folk literature, Arabic -- Palestine -- Translations into English, Diglossia (Linguistics), Tales -- Palestine, Palestinian Arabs -- Folklore, Arabic language, Ibrahim Muhawi (1937- ). Speak bird speak again, Ibrahim Muhawi (1937- ) -- Criticism and interpretation, Kanāʻnah, Sharīf -- Criticism and interpretation




The preservation of Palestinian folktales is a way to restore and preserve Palestinian culture in result to the declining state and displacement of Palestinian populations into other regions of the Arabic World (Muhawi and Kanaana 1989). Some academics have acknowledged that the translation of folklore and other similar tales have contributed to a growing consideration of foreign cultures and the overall understanding by non-native sources (Klaus Roth 1998) (Kanaana 2005). Throughout this paper, I analyze the work put forth by Ibrahim Muhawi and Sharif Kanaana and their success in transcribing and translating a collection of folk narratives in their original form. Throughout this paper I effectively fill the sociolinguistic gap within Speak Bird Speak Again, by highlighting and commenting on occurrences of Arabic diglossia within the text. This compliments the anthropological and minimal linguistic approach within the authors’ own analysis. Within my work I answer the questions: how does the complexities of Arabic diglossia influence the translation, transcription, and the anthropological understanding of these Palestinian folk tales from the perspective of a non-native Arabic learner? This research shows the multifaceted dimensions within the Arabic language and elucidates on why Muhawi, and Kanaana’s anthropological commentary is presented in Speak Bird Speak Again. Through the analysis of Spoken Palestinian Arabic juxtaposed to Modern Standard Arabic, I was able to expound upon cultural implications which are introduced in the text. Moreover, this approach further aids in the linguistic and cultural comprehension of Palestinian folk narratives from the perspective of non-native Arabic learners.


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