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International Journal Of The Sociology Of Language

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Sociolinguistics -- Africa (North), Diglossia (Linguistics), Arabic language -- Variation


Despite criticisms it has received, Ferguson's (1959b) account of diglossia should be recognized for its prescience. It offered not only an admittedly idealized characterization of diglossia in Arabic, but also pointed out how and why it might change. Focusing on Tunisia, this article demonstrates the many ways in which Fergie was right. It examines the changing demographics of Tunisians' access to the high variety of Arabic; the complex ways in which Tunisians, and Arabs more generally, deal with the "communicative tensions" diglossia creates; and considers the changing nature of Arabic in what is, in many ways, a postdiglossic Tunisia.


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