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Studies on Arabic Dialectology and Sociolinguistics

Catherine Miller
Alexandrine Barontini
Marie-Aimée Germanos
et al.


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1The development of Arabic dialectology in the last two decades certainly owes much to the Association Internationale de Dialectologie Arabe (AIDA) which was founded in 1993 in Paris under the headship of Dominique Caubet with the collaboration of several leading international scholars. Its main goal was to encourage and promote the study of Arabic dialects by enhancing contact and exchange between linguists working on this field. Since then, Aida has organized regular meetings every two years in different countries with a growing success in terms of number and origin of participants.

2Studies on Arabic dialects have become a very dynamic field of research and the Proceedings of each conference illustrate the evolution of the research. There is no doubt that AIDA is nowadays the leading international association that joins scholars from all over the world interested in various aspects of Arabic dialectology. The field includes several trends such as dialectal geography and dialectal atlases, comparative and diachronic studies, descriptive linguistics (phonology, morpho-syntax, semantics, lexicon), pragmatics, code-switching, contact, Arabic-based pidgin-creoles, sociolinguistics, studies of variation and change, folk linguistics, attitudes and ideology, dialectal writings, cultural productions and so on. All the proceedings have been digitalized and can be found online at​AIDAAssociationInternationaledeDialectologieArabe , thanks to our colleague and AIDA’s president George Grigore.

3After Paris (France) in 1993, Cambridge (UK) in 1995, Valetta (Malta) in 1998, Marrakech (Morocco) in 2000, Cadiz (Spain) in 2002, Hammamet (Tunisia) in 2004, Vienna (Austria) in 2006, Colchester (UK) in 2008, Pescara (Italy) in 2011, Doha (Qatar) in 2013, Bucharest (Romania) in 2015, Aix-Marseille hosted the 12th Aida International Conference from May 30th to June 2nd 2017 in the Campus Saint Charles.

4The 12th conference was organized jointly by Catherine Miller and Jairo Guerrero from IREMAM (Aix-Marseille University), Marie-Aimée Germanos from CERMOM (INALCO-Paris), and Alexandrine Barontini and Christophe Pereira from LACNAD (INALCO-Paris), with the financial support of IREMAM, Aix-Marseille University, CERMOM, LACNAD, INALCO, the city of Marseille and AIDA. The conference call met great success with more than 180 abstracts submitted. After evaluation by the members of the organizing and scientific committees, 126 papers were selected and about 150 participants from more than 30 countries attended the conference.

5The presentations were organized in three parallel thematic sessions. One dealt mainly with descriptive linguistics (phonology, morpho-syntax, semantics), the other with presentations of little known dialects and contact phenomena, and the third one with pragmatics, language attitudes, dialect writings and cultural productions. The Conference hosted also a thematic sociolinguistic workshop coordinated by the Essex Arabic Sociolinguistics Research Group headed by Enam Al-Wer, Areej Al-Hawamdeh and Uri Horesh presenting variationist researches undertaken in a number of cities of Jordan, Palestine-Israel, Saudi Arabia.

6The presence of many young researchers from Europe, USA and several Arab countries testifies the vitality of the field. Over the years, more and more participants from Arab countries have expressed their willingness to attend the AIDA conferences. Their increasing interest toward the (socio)-linguistic description of Arabic vernaculars is a very encouraging sign that reflects the development of the studies of Arabic vernaculars within Arab countries and suggests opportunities for stronger collaborations.

7The volume of the proceedings contains fifty articles, which are revised and enhanced versions of the papers read on the 12th conference. Following the AIDA tradition, all the papers discuss on-going researches based on original field-work data. The volume includes contributions by senior scholars, as well as young Master and PhD students. Among the growing trends of research within the AIDA network, one notices the development of studies dealing with syntax, processes of grammaticalization and pragmatics, which for long were rather marginal domains within Arabic dialectology. Another trend concerns studies dealings with new genres and new practices of written and oral cultural productions such as rap songs, internet writings, TV shows, and so on. These trends testify, once again, that studies on the practices of Arabic dialects are important venues to understand the current social changes.

8The organizers of the conference and editors of the volume would like to thank the many people who helped at various stages.

9Aziza Boucherit, Peter Benhstedt, Kristen Brustad, Dominique Caubet, George Grigore, Angela Langone, Jérôme Lentin, Stefano Manfredi, Gunvor Mejdell, Stephane Procházka, Veronika Ritt-Benmimoun, Catherine Taine-Cheikh, Martine Vanhove, Ángeles Vicente, Manfred Woidich, Liesbeth Zack, Karima Ziamari kindly accepted to help in the evaluation and the selection of the 180 submitted abstracts.

10Absa D’Agaro- N'diaye from Aix-Marseille University coordinated the financial and logistic aspects of the Conference with the help of Christine Miretti and Christelle Vayssière from IREMAM, and the members of the logistic department of the Campus Saint Charles at Marseille (Mirjana Mrajevic, Eric Chevalier, Christophe Poggi, Jean-Pierre Lopez). Marie-Pierre Oulié from IREMAM created and managed the web site. Btissam Abkari, a young Master student greatly helped in all aspects of the organization.

11Sabine Partouche, Chief editor at IREMAM, took in charge all the digital editing process. She managed to finish the editing in a few months in spite of her intensive editorial duties within IREMAM.

12Finally, we would like to thank all the participants, some of whom come from far away, for their enthusiastic involvement in the success of this conference. It was an intense emotional moment to witness the presence and encounter of the AIDA old timers and AIDA newcomers! The spirit of academic friendship, scientific opening and mutual respect is an important component of the AIDA branding.

Aida 2017 Marseilles

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