Tag Archives: Diglossia

Diglossia: An Overview of the Arabic Situation (Published)

One of the most distinctive features of the Arabic language is the existence of diglossia. Arabic largely exists in a diglossic situation, which is manifested through the co-existence of Standard Arabic and Colloquial Arabic (Ferguson, 1959). Any discussion of the language situation in Arabic-speaking communities in the Middle Eastern and North African countries and elsewhere cannot overlook the existence of diglossia. Indeed, Arabic represents the world’s most complicated diglossic situation (Kaye, 2002). This paper provides an overview of diglossia in Arabic. It attempts to outline the meaning of the concept, its different types and its relationship to language stability and change. The overview is meant to be representative rather than comprehensive.

Keywords: Colloquial Arabic, Diglossia, Language variety, Standard Arabic