Lexical Variation in the Rural North Jordanian Dialect

Yousef F. Bader, Sajeda F. Al-Shatnawi


This study investigates lexical variation, which is due to more education, more mobility, and widespread use of the social media, in the dialect of three towns around Irbid City in north Jordan and its correlation with age, gender, and level of education. Labov’s approach is adopted to examine the linguistic variation among 98 speakers of the Irbidite dialect. Around 100 words were collected and put in the form of a questionnaire to elicit the opinion of speakers from different age groups, genders, and levels of education towards the frequency of their use of these words. The study used the method of direct interview to elicit the feelings of the participants about the dialect they use. The results show that old speakers and less educated ones tend to preserve their native lexical items more than others. They indicated that they use the original lexical items because they are proud of their dialect which reflects their identity. The groups which tend more to neglect some lexical items are educated young and middle-aged female subjects. They indicated that they do so for prestige and imitation of peers in the Irbidite society.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/sll.v5n1p94


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