Idiomatic Structures in Egyptian Arabic


Claudia Wolfer

Research Area:


The main objective of my PhD project is the detailed description and comparison of idiomatic structures of two Egyptian Arabic dialects, using digital corpora of spoken Arabic. Although corpus linguistics has gained importance over the past two decades, while studies concerning corpora of the written Arabic language exist, there are almost none concerning the spoken Arabic language. The analysis of idiomatic structures within corpora of dialectal spoken Arabic will thus be an attempt to implement new linguistic methods within the field of Arabic linguistics.

The dialect of Cairo is the standard and prestige dialect of Egypt and is widely understood throughout the country, mainly due to modern media and work migration. The Egyptian oasises in the Western desert have been quite isolated until recent decades. Their dialects combine elements of different dialectal regions whose origin is still under discussion.

In the project, I will analyse a sample of relevant idioms taken from the corpora using concepts from cognitive linguistics, define their grammatical structure, the basic semantic meaning of their keywords, and define semantic schema which generalize over classes of idioms. In a second step, I will compare the idiomatic structures of both dialects in order to find possible reasons for the differences or similarities between them.