To comprehend how Arabic became a pluricentric language, we need to navigate through its rich history. In this paper, I focus on three stages in the development of Arabic: Classical Arabic, Middle Arabic and Modern Arabic. I explain how the fate of Arabic was permanently sealed in the Classical period with the emergence of Islam and the subsequent Islamic conquests. At the peak of the Islamic empire, the codification of Arabic preserved it as a dominant written language. However, the indigenous languages that Arabic had displaced in new regions, gave way to non-dominant regional varieties. These varieties continued to diverge from the codified variety during the Middle period, giving rise to diglossia in Arabic. I conclude with a review of the modern period and the Arabic revival efforts, which marked the creation of Modern Standard Arabic while the colonially influenced non-dominant varieties drifted further still.
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British Library Qatar Foundation Partnership
- Series name
Österreichisches Deutsch - Sprache der Gegenwart
- Book title
Pluricentric Languages Across Continents: Features and Usage
- Place of publication
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
New York, NY, USA
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