Imaginaries of Space and Language: A historical view of the scalar enregisterment of Jordanian Arabic

Yazan Doughan


Linguistic variation over territorial space is usually conceptualized in terms of dialects. However, the notion of dialect fails to capture the highly charged socio-spatial metapragmatics involved in such variation which is central to speakers’ apprehension of their language and what it means for them to be in, or from, a particular place. Here, I chart the historical development of Jordanian Arabic over the course of the 20th century to argue that it is better understood not as a dialect but as a register of locale enmeshed in a language ideology that cut across different social scales: forms of subsistence, national territory, class, gender and age.


Jordanian Arabic, enregisterment, language ideologies, social scales, nationalism

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