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Language and Identity in Modern Egypt

Reem Bassiouney

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Examines language and identity in modern Egypt using theories from discourse analysis and sociolinguistics

Catherine Miller reviews Language and Identity in Modern Egypt for the Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée

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1. Identity and beyond: Setting the framework of analysis
2. A historical overview of the development of national identity in modern Egypt with reference to language: The formative period
3.“Arabic” indexes amidst a nation and a nation-state: Ideologies, attitudes and linguistic realities
4. Social attributes of Egyptian identity
5. Narration and identity construction
6. The politics of identity and linguistic unrest: The case of the Egyptian revolution
7. Conclusions
List of abbreviations

About the Author

Reem Bassiouney (DPhil, Oxon.) is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Applied Linguistics at the American University in Cairo. Her academic books include, Functions of code-switching in Egypt (2006), Arabic Sociolinguistics (2008), Arabic and the Media (2010), Arabic Language and Linguistics 2012 (co-ed). Her research and publications focus on topics in Arabic sociolingusitics, including code-switching, language and gender, leveling, register, language policy, and discourse analysis. She is also an award winning novelist.


This is a timely book by a knowledgeable scholar who has a deep and sophisticated appreciation of the complexities of language and identity in Egypt.

- Abbas Benmamoun, University of Illinois

'This study provides an interesting insight into the link between identity and language in a barely investigated diglossic context, combining sociolinguistics and discourse analysis.'

- Carmen Ebner, Language In Society

'Bassiouney’s good command of both Arabic and English, sophisticated understanding of sociolinguistics, deep insight into the linguistic subtleties and discursive nuances of the data analyzed, and sound theoretical proposals presented render this book an indispensable reference to any researcher interested in the ways in which language plays a role in constructing national identity particularly in linguistically complex environments.'

- Multilingua

'[Reem Bassiouney's] work tackles exciting and complex issues through the analysis of a rich and diverse corpus. There are few books that put on the same level of analysis of popular songs, TV shows, newspaper articles, novels, and political speeches...This book will certainly remain one of the important references in the field of studies of linguistic ideologies in the Arab world.'

- Catherine Miller, Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée

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