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Attrition and maintenance of the Berber language in Tunisia

Gabsi, Zouhir 2011, Attrition and maintenance of the Berber language in Tunisia, International journal of the sociology of language, vol. 2011, no. 211, pp. 135-164.

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Title Attrition and maintenance of the Berber language in Tunisia
Author(s) Gabsi, Zouhir
Journal name International journal of the sociology of language
Volume number 2011
Issue number 211
Start page 135
End page 164
Total pages 30
Publisher De Gruyter Mouton
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2011
ISSN 0165-2516
1613-3668
Keyword(s) Berber
Douiret
Shilha
attrition
maintenance
Summary In this article, I examine the situation of Tunisian Berber from a linguistic and sociolinguistic perspective. The prolonged institutional marginalization of this language, the lack to date of a comprehensive documentation, and the passive attitude of the speakers themselves are contributing factors to its current decline. Present predictions as to its immediate extinction are alarming. However, conclusions drawn in other studies are not adequately supported and evidence from data recently collected in southern Tunisia partially refutes the claim that the decline of Tunisian Berber is irreversible. Even though attrition is evident in borrowing en masse from Arabic, grammatical evidence shows little structural change. After many years of neglect, efforts to document fully the remaining vernaculars are a positive step towards the revival of this variety of Berber. In this article I have three goals. First, to give an assessment of the problems and the challenges facing Tunisian Berber. Second, to describe the extent of attrition of this language based on field-collected data and, third, to suggest some directions for future studies of Tunisian Berber and strategies to stimulate its revival. Complete oral narratives, the first to be published, will be appended to the text in order to allow the linguistic community access to materials in its language.
Language eng
Field of Research 200318 Middle Eastern Languages
Socio Economic Objective 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, De Gruyter Mouton
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30057825

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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Created: Tue, 12 Nov 2013, 21:45:19 EST by Zouhir Gabsi

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