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Arabic on the media: Hybridity and styles

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Chapter Summary

The purpose of media programming is to inform and to entertain. Some programs can be classified as informative, others as entertainment, and others as both. The relationship between language and the media is particularly interesting in the Arabic context due to the diglossic nature of its speech communities. The media, particularly the broadcasting media, has a unique role to play in negotiating the relationship between the two varieties: spoken everyday language of communication and a literary variety. This chapter discusses the position that the broadcasting media represent 'hybrid' contexts, and focuses on the interview as a genre whose purpose is to inform and entertain, and whose context is appropriate for either or both varieties of Arabic. It examines two interviews aired over the Egyptian Satellite Channel. Three major styles are identified, corresponding roughly to Labov's reading, careful, and casual styles. Finally, it discusses 'hybridity' in relation to 'code-switching'.

Keywords: Arabic; hybridity; language of communication; media programming; speech communities



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