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Abstract

Languages are passed down through generations from parents to children by communication. Yet linguists find that languages (and varieties of languages) change over time - but at different rates. This study mainly aims at investigating semantic and word changes that took place in the Qatari colloquial Arabic over a period of thirty years. The research began by interviewing forty Qatari locals. The participants came from two age groups: (18-24 years) and (55-61 years) - this is to document change over time. The interview examined the presence of semantic changes in the Qatari colloquial Arabic. The linguistic variable in this study was a list of forty-five dialectical terms and expressions that were commonly used by adults 30 years ago. The second part of the research method included investigating the origin of each term from Kitab al-'Ayn (the first dictionary of the Arabic language) and Lisan Al Arab to confirm that they come from Arabic. The results of the research vary. The majority of the lexical items under investigation presented some form of change over the two generations; they showed phonetic, semantic as well as other types of change. There was also evidence of terms that were borrowed from languages such as Farsi, English and Urdo and incorporated into the Qatari local dialect, after undergoing phonetic change. Languages change for a variety of reasons. History reveals many examples of dialect change fuelled by migration/movement, colonization and economic growth. One finding of this research is that the vocabulary an individual uses nowadays is a social marker of age. An example of this includes the word ?????? )?ambalou?), meaning ambulance. This lexical item was borrowed from English before going through a phonological change, and users of this term tend to be from an older generation. The changes happening to the Qatari colloquial Arabic is an undocumented phenomenon. The study increases the awareness about the development of the language in the country and is a research platform for further investigation in the field.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarf.2013.SSHSP-07
2013-11-20
2020-09-22
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http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/papers/10.5339/qfarf.2013.SSHSP-07
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