By Enam Al-Wer, Rudolf de Jong
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Extra info for Arabic Dialectology: in Honour of Clive Holes on the Occasion of His Sixtieth Birthday (Studies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics, V. 53)
Immigration from the countryside was not massive enough to radically transform the linguistic structure of the old qǝltu-type MB. On the contrary, the immigrants must by and large have accommodated to the speech of the urban people. As the linguistic change in language contact as a rule starts with a phonetic adaptation and adoption of separate culturally-based lexical items from the predominant language, the rural immigrants who came to Baghdad before the sixteenth century certainly incorporated technical terms associated with the urban culture, and a majority of them most likely substituted the urban q for their rural g.
In that case, the sedentary features of MB must have appeared to the speech of the new gǝlǝt-speaking population either from the dialects of the non-Muslim minorities or from Muslim qǝltu-speaking immigrants from other parts of the country. The former alternative disregards the social distance16 between the religious groups in general and the higher social status of the Muslims in particular. In the Middle Ages the distribution in the use of communal dialects was scarcely different from that of the past two or three generations, when the Jews and the Christians spoke JB and CB at home and with members of their respective communities, but with Muslims they used MB (Mansour 2006:231-232; Duri 1960:907).
Another q—g pair of the same type is liḥaq ‘to attach, append’, cf. liḥag ‘to follow, trail after’. 1. below). 4. 2. above. 2. , consists of technical terms associated with the urban culture of the past. Abu-Haidar illustrates the case with a few striking examples. One of them concerns the term saqqa ‘water-carrier’, which used to be part of MB vocabulary when water-carriers were a common sight in inner Baghdad, but which is unknown to the younger generation: “An elderly woman, when asked what a water-carrier did, replied: is-saqqa čān yisgīna mayy ‘the water-carrier used to give us water to drink’, using the /q/, /g/ morphophonemic alternation.
Arabic Dialectology: in Honour of Clive Holes on the Occasion of His Sixtieth Birthday (Studies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics, V. 53) by Enam Al-Wer, Rudolf de Jong