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Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Sep 28 14:41:02 UTC 2004

Forwarded from Linguist-List:

Author: Joan Smith/Kocamahhul

Dissertation Title: Language Choice, Code-switching and Language Shift in
Antakya, Turkey

Subject Language(s):
Arabic, North Mesopotamian Spoken Language Code: AYP
Turkish Language Code: TRK

Dissertation Director:
Kon Kuiper
Lyle Campbell

Dissertation Abstract:

Although Arabic is one of the world's ten largest languages in terms of
numbers of speakers, the Arabic language in Turkey is in decline. This is
due to the position of Turkish as the sole official language there and to
other factors of social change (significantly migration). This thesis
presents one of the first pieces of research into the shift from Arabic to
Turkish in Turkey, focused on the city of Antakya (Antioch). The thesis
has multiple goals. Firstly, it sketches the background of the
Arabic-speaking community as it relates to the history of the language in
the area. Secondly, it presents an assessment of the degree of language
shift and community members' attitudes to the language and the shift. This
was done through a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods,
namely, through the use of structured interviews and the analysis of
naturally-occurring conversations. Thirdly, this work assesses the role
language choice and code-switching play in the language shift.
Specifically, it tests Myers-Scotton's Matrix Language turnover hypothesis
(1993a, 1998) which postulates that intrasentential code-switching may
cause language shift. The results show that the Matrix Language turnover
hypothesis has little relevance to this community and thus that other
communities undergoing language shift need not necessarily see
intrasentential code-switching as a threat to their language. The work
concludes with proposals of possible avenues for language maintenance for
the Arabic-speaking community in Turkey.

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