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Dawod, T.H.O.M. (1952) The phonetics and phonology of an Aden dialect of Arabic. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00029329

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Abstract

The title of this thesis is "The phonetics and phonology of an Aden dialect of Arabic." Three terms are necessary to be clarified here; these are Aden, dialect and Arabic. 1. "Aden colony and protectorates cover some 112000 square miles and stretch along the southern coast of Arabia from the Shaikh said peninsula opposite Perim Island eastwards for some 700 miles to the frontier of Oman. On the north west they are bounded by Yemen. Further to the east the frontier merges with the desert. Its depth from Hadramaut, or southern coast, varies from 50 miles in the west to 200 miles in the east." 2. "The Port of Aden is formed by two volcanic peninsulas - Aden (jabal Shamsan) and Little Aden (Jabal Insan) - which are connected with the mainland to the north by short necks of sand. The area of the Crown Colony is small, only 75 square miles, exclusive of its two dependencies - Perim Island (7 square miles), and Kuria Muria Islands (30 square miles). The population of the colony at the census in 1946 was 80,516 of whom 51000 were males. It includes Arabs (58,500), Somalis, Indians and Jews."1 The dialect studied here is of the 'Port of Aden' or more accurately of the part of this port known as "The Crater". "The term 'dialect' has a connotation in technical linguistic usage which is somewhat different from its ordinary meaning. To the linguist there is no real difference between a 'dialect' and a 'language' which can be shown to be related, however, remotely, to another language. By reference the term is restricted to a form of speech to be unintelligible to the speakers of the latter."2 The term 'Arabic' in the title includes a number of contemporary spoken dialects in the region between the Atlantic Coast of North Africa and the Western Persian frontier and from Syria to the Southern Sudan. Such term does not exclude Classical Arabic, which varies in pronunciation from one country in the region to the other, as the term 'Modern Arabic' would. This latter term covers the spoken unwritten dialects of the Arabs of today. 1. The Middle East. A Political and Economic Survey. RIIA.1950 - p.104. 2. Sapir, Selected Writings of Edward Sapir, p.83. The polycommunal character of the Aden population will, later, be related to the dialect studied as far as the vocabulary is concerned. The Arabs, as can be seen from the above quotations, are the largest single community, but they are not all 'Aden born'. The term 'Aden born' has, in the administrative context, a special implication as opposed to newcomers among the population. Those newcomers are chiefly from the neighbouring districts of the South such as the Protectorates and Yemen. As the town started in its history as a fishing village, the fishermen of the town claim to be the oldest group in settlement. This claim seems to win acceptance by all others. The fishermen are few in numbers. Second to these in antiquity of residence are some old families who planted themselves in the port long before the colonization of South Arabia and who are influential within the Aden town. The family of my informant is one of these; therefore, not only he, but also his father at least are 'Aden born'. These families, beside the fishermen, are the speakers of the Aden dialect. An educated member of an Aden family, such as my informant is, can be described as 'bidialectal' in different social settings. Within the circle of the family, as well as when talking to any fellow Adenese, he speaks Aden Dialect, but when talking to an educated Arab from outside the town, he speaks a modified 'Aden Dialect': a mixture of C.A. and A.D. words phonologically conforming to the characteristics of Aden Dialect. The contrast has then to be made between Aden Dialect and 'Aden Dialect', as this has to be made for every dialect of Modern Arabic as far as educated speakers are concerned. Care, however, has had to be taken to separate these two and to exclude 'Aden Dialect' of the educated speakers as far as possible from the data of this work, and to study an Aden dialect spoken by my informant as in his family circle.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00029329
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:11
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/29329

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