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Representation of Women’s Language in Negev Bedouin Men’s Texts

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Chapter Summary

Research on women's language in Arabic includes Rosenhouse 1995, 1998; Bedouin women's narrative styles have been studied by Henkin and Bettini 2006. This chapter tackles women's speech from a different angle, namely as perceived by men. It is based on the author's Negev Arabic corpus of over 200 recorded texts of diverse genres. The chapter focuses on oral narrative and personal stories. Most of the Negev Bedouin women above the age of 45 are illiterate. This accounts for several phenomena in the discourse of elderly women, including folk neologisms and meta-analysis of literary formulas. A prominent characteristic of Negev Arabic women's speech styles is emotionality. The distinction made between ordinary conversational discourse and traditional oral narrative is crucial in the case of women's speech as portrayed in Negev Bedouin men's texts. Different functions are involved when men quote women in these two major genres.

Keywords: Bedouin women; Negev Arabic corpus; Negev Bedouin men's texts; women's language



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