S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 28 Number 1/4 (1992)
Good Arabic : Ability and Ideology in the Egyptian Arabic Speech Community
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.28 No.2, pp. 225-253
- This paper reports on the results of research conducted in Cairo, Egypt, on the abilities of native speakers of Arabic with their standard language. While it is assumed that most speakers control their own colloquial dialect perfectly, the results of a grammar test administered to more than 150 subjects of various ages, both sexes, and various levels of education indicate that while there are some aspects of the grammar that are apparently learned well by all, there are many common difficult constructions that are controlled by only a small minority. Subjects also consistently scored better on the multiple choice items than on corresponding items in a production test. Reading, writing, listening and speaking tests (all based on the proficiency testing model) were also administered to these same subjects. Results indicate that average educated subjects are proficient readers and listeners (the receptive skills), but are deficient speakers and writers (the productive skills). A discussion of an appropriate model for analyzing the social position of Standard Arabic ensues, and the results of a set of surveys are presented that throw light on how Egyptians view this language. The paper concludes that Egyptians have not yet made up their minds to agree on exactly what "good" Arabic is, and suggests that what "good" Arabic ultimately comes to be for these people will be a result of the clash of the incompatible views of it which they currently hold.