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Identity in Communicative Contexts


Edited By Kamila Ciepiela

The central focus of the book is the identification of the ways people engage in communicative encounters to (re)constitute personal and social identities. Its aim is to identify some principal themes that have emerged from the ample research on identity in a variety of contexts. A common thread of the articles is the role of language in the construction and performance of identities. It embraces an exploration of the sociocultural environments in which human communication takes place, the interplay between these environments, and the construction and display of identities through our communicative performances. Research located in a range of literary, sociological, psychological and linguistic perspectives is used to illustrate the potential of communication in establishing a sense of identity.

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Functions of diglossic and Arabic/English code-switching in identity construction on Egyptian television



Abstract The paper aims to answer the question of how diglossic and bilingual Arabic/English code-switching (CS) are used to construct one’s identity on Egyptian television. The two types of CS are typical of particular groups of speakers and have emerged as two distinct phenomena. They differ regarding their patterns, indexicality, and markedness, which results from a native speaker’s different attitudes towards the linguistic codes involved. The two varieties of Arabic participating in diglossic CS, i.e. Standard and Egyptian, have positive connotations. Standard Arabic is identified with Arabness and Islamic heritage whereas Egyptian Arabic with Egyptianness. English, on the other hand, is perceived rather ambiguously. It is associated with social mobility and professionalism, but, at the same time, with colonialism and elitism. The study gives special attention to bilingual CS owing to its high markedness (as opposed to diglossic CS). The findings suggest that both types of CS can fulfil similar functions of which one of the most important is that of prestige. This is because both Standard Arabic and English are authoritative varieties but in different realms and for different categories of speakers. The author claims that bilingual speakers, not having access to Standard Arabic, employ bilingual CS primarily to demonstrate their professionalism and authority.


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