Degemination in Emirati Pidgin Arabic: A Sociolinguistic Perspective

Jan 05, 2022


Published in: Languages

Publisher: MDPI

Abdel Rahman Mitib Altakhaineh Abdul-Salam Al-Namer Sulafa Alnamer

This study examines the production of geminates in Emirati Pidgin Arabic (EPA) spoken by blue-collar workers in the United Arab Emirates. A simple naming test was designed to test the production of geminates to determine whether the EPA speakers would produce a geminated or degeminated phoneme. Following that, a semi-structured interview was conducted with a subset of the study cohort to obtain the participants’ own explanation of where they degeminated the consonants. Our findings suggest that the exercising of this choice functions as a sociolinguistic strategy, akin to the one observed by Labov in his study of Martha’s Vineyard. In particular, our findings show that speakers of EPA are inclined to degeminate consonantal geminates to establish themselves as members of a particular social group. The reasons for wanting to achieve this aim were given as follows: to claim privileges only available to members of this group (such as employment); and to distinguish themselves from the dominant cultural group. The study concludes that degemination in EPA has developed into a sociolinguistic solidarity marker.

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