Language and change in the Arab Middle East: the evolution of modern political discourse

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Middle Eastern society experienced sudden and profound change in the 19th century under the impact of European expansion and influence. But as Western ideas about politics, technology, and culture began to infiltrate Arab society, the old language proved to be an inadequate vehicle for transmitting these alien concepts from abroad. In this study of the rise of modern Arabic, Ayalon examines 19th-century linguistic change in the Eastern Arab world as a mirror of changing Arab perceptions and responses to the West as well as a guide to the emergence of modern Arabic concepts, institutions, and practices. Focusing on the realm of political discourse, Ayalon looks at a wide array of evidence - local chronicles, travel accounts, translations of European writings, Arab political treatises, newspapers and periodicals, and dictionaries - to show how shifts in the color, tone, and meaning of the Arab vocabulary reflected a new socio-political and cultural reality. Publisher's description.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford: Oxford University Press
Number of pages196
ISBN (Print)0195041402, 9780195364798, 9780195041408
StatePublished - 1987

Publication series

NameStudies in Middle Eastern history


  • Arabic language -- 19th century
  • Political science -- Arab countries -- History -- 19th century
  • Arab countries -- Politics and government


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