Language and Identity in Modern Egypt

Language and Identity in Modern Egypt

REEM BASSIOUNEY
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 416
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt9qdr19
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  • Book Info
    Language and Identity in Modern Egypt
    Book Description:

    Reem Bassiouney explores these questions by drawing on newspaper articles, caricatures, blogs, patriotic songs, films, school textbooks, TV talk-shows, poetry and novels to show the relationship between language, public discourse and national identity in Egypt. Readers will discover the intricate ways in which media and public discourse help shape and outline identity through linguistic processes.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-8965-1
    Subjects: History, Linguistics, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. EXPANDED CONTENTS LIST
    (pp. iv-viii)
  4. List of maps, figures, and tables
    (pp. ix-ix)
  5. List of abbreviations
    (pp. x-xi)
  6. TRANSCRIPTION, GLOSSES, AND TRANSLITERATIONS
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  7. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. INTRODUCTION: LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY IN MODERN EGYPT
    (pp. 1-33)

    The aim of this work is to examine how language is used in Egyptian public discourse to illuminate the collective identity of Egyptians, and how this identity is then made manifest in language form and content. The data used to identify the collective identity of Egyptians in public discourse includes newspaper articles, caricatures, blogs, patriotic songs, films, school textbooks, television talk shows, poetry, and, finally, Egyptian novels that deal with the theme of identity.

    Edwards (2009: 20) stipulates that “individual identities will be both components and reflections of particular social (or cultural) ones, and the latter will always be, to...

  9. CHAPTER 1 IDENTITY AND BEYOND: SETTING THE FRAMEWORK OF ANALYSIS
    (pp. 34-77)

    Zūzū is a young Egyptian female student who comes across as intelligent, ambitious, bold, and yet tormented by her shameful family background. Her mother is an old belly-dancer who lives in a lower-class Cairene alley. While forging a different identity for herself, she is also conflicted throughout between allegiance to her old one and struggling to maintain a respectful new one. The moment she lays eyes upon the professor who will be directing a play at her university, she is swept off her feet. In a discussion session in which students write questions for the professor to answer, she writes...

  10. CHAPTER 2 A HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF NATIONAL IDENTITY IN MODERN EGYPT WITH REFERENCE TO LANGUAGE: THE FORMATIVE PERIOD
    (pp. 78-104)

    The relationship between the first two quotes and the third, despite both originating from very different sources (one from a history book, the other from a play (Shahrazād1921)), cannot be ignored. The first quote was produced in English, the second in mostly ECA with SA lexical items. Although never before analyzed together, it is obvious that one is a reaction to the other. The first extract (above) is from Cromer’s famous workModern Egypt.In his biography of Cromer, Roger Owens argues that during Cromer’s time as High Commissioner, he undermined the concept of a coherent Egyptian identity. Others...

  11. CHAPTER 3 “ARABIC” INDEXES AMIDST A NATION AND A NATION-STATE: IDEOLOGIES, ATTITUDES, AND LINGUISTIC REALITIES
    (pp. 105-148)

    The Tunisian pop singer Laṭīfah has a famous song in ECA in which she defines “the Egyptian.” Her main definition of an Egyptian is one who speaks Arabic. Arabic as a classification category has been discussed in the last chapter and will recur throughout the book, especially in Chapter 6, in which I discuss how the media, during the 2011 Revolution, claimed that speaking Arabic was the primary criterion for defining “the real Egyptian.” However, the reference to Arabic in this song is both ambiguous and general. The sentenceb-ism illa:h wa b-ism bila:di:(“In the name of God and...

  12. CHAPTER 4 SOCIAL ATTRIBUTES OF EGYPTIAN IDENTITY
    (pp. 149-238)

    This quote is from Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian Google executive and blogger, whose page “Kullunā Khālid Sa‘īd” (“We are all Khalid Said”) helped trigger the protests that led to the toppling of President Mubarak. It is taken from a television interview broadcast on the eve of his release from prison, where he had been held on accusations of fomenting revolt. The statements by Ghonim undoubtedly struck a chord with the masses of protesters in Egypt and gave renewed momentum to the protest movement; this is evidenced by the wide publicity given to his appearance on the Egyptian channel Drīm.² In...

  13. CHAPTER 5 IDENTITY AND NARRATION IN EGYPT
    (pp. 239-293)

    In Ramaḍān’s novelAwrāq al-narjis(“The leaves of Narcissus”), Kīmī, an Egyptian upper-class girl, travels to Ireland to study for a doctorate in English literature. Kīmī’s sense of identity is to a great extent influenced by her experience; when abroad, Kīmī is forced to explain who she is in relation to Egypt. Those around her stereotype her as an Egyptian, an Arab, and a Muslim. Whether she likes it or not, Kīmī is also forced to defend the identity of Egyptians more generally. As was mentioned in Chapter 1, identity is subjective, as well as ideological and habitual. In fact,...

  14. CHAPTER 6 THE POLITICS OF IDENTITY AND LINGUISTIC UNREST: THE CASE OF THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION
    (pp. 294-340)

    The quote above is one of the most famous quotes in Egyptian cinema. The MM implies to Qutuz, the Mamluk leader, that Egypt has lost all its leaders and is in a very weak position. He challenges him with the famous sentence: “So who should I speak to if I want to address the Egyptian people?”

    The Mamluk prince, Qutuz, then declares himself the new Egyptian leader. When asked about his identity (“who are you?”), he humbly replies, “I am a citizen of Egypt,” and then uses the imperative form “talk” to show the Mongol messenger that Qutuz, as a...

  15. CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS
    (pp. 341-362)

    This book aims at providing a theoretical framework to study identity in public discourse.

    Identity is defined for the purpose of this work as a social construct that is ideological, perceptual, and habitual.

    In order for us to understand the relationship between language and identity, one must first regard language as both a social variable and a social resource available to individuals. As a social variable and resource, it is also dependent on the shared norms of the community and on the ideological, perceptual, and habitual aspects of identity as a social construct.

    Egyptians are perceived in public discourse as...

  16. APPENDIX: CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF SONGS EXAMINED
    (pp. 363-365)
  17. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 366-391)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 392-400)