The classification of Arabic and sociolinguistic variation in the pre-Islamic period

Authored by: Ahmad Al-Jallad

The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Sociolinguistics

Print publication date:  June  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138853966
eBook ISBN: 9781315722450
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter discusses the classification of Arabic as a Semitic language, and then turns to the varieties of Arabic attested in the pre-Islamic period, Old Arabic, with a focus on its geographic distribution, its status as a written language, and contact with other languages. The chapter will conclude with some remarks on the matter of pre-Islamic diglossia and sociolinguistic differences in the attested varieties of Old Arabic.

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