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Judeo-Arabic Dialects in North Africa as Communal Languages: Lects, Polylects, and Sociolects

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The study aims to present a comprehensive analysis of the North African Judeo-Arabic dialects in their internal diversity and in their communal use in daily interaction as well as in specialized genres of oral and written discourse. Internal diversity pertains to the various daily and elaborated genres of discourse and types of texts that developed in Jewish communities from the sixteenth century, generating different lects, polylects, and archilects in poetry, in journalism, and in daily interaction; combinations of lects constitute the repertories of three distinct communal sociolects: rabbinic, males,’ and females’ sociolects. Internal diversity also includes the changing linguistic Arabic matrix and the external components it integrated and which hybridized the dialects: Hebrew-Aramaic, Berber, Turkish, and Romance (Castilian, Portuguese, Italian, French). Three oral texts illustrating various Judeo-Arabic lects are presented and discussed.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Hebrew Language, University of


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