This sociolinguistic study throws new light on variation and the defining of register in Arabic political discourse. The research is based on three dialects (Egyptian, Iraqi and Libyan) and on political speeches delivered by Gamal Abdunnasir, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Al Gadhdhafi. The data of this study is based on video and audio recordings of the speeches and, in order to determine the language varieties used by the speakers, phonological, morphophonological, syntactic and lexical data is analysed. Notions such as phonological convergence, communicative competence, prestigious versus dominant dialects, together with mechanisms of code-switching and code-mixing are examined. There is an attempt to relate language form to function in discourse, i.e. the relationship between the speaker's use of language and the subject of his discourse, and a discussion of the concept of "involvement" in Arabic political discourse. Functional and stylistic parallels in Arabic and English political oratory are also studied.
Given that the applicability and representativenes of the data go beyond its local stance, the work draws conclusions about the "universality" of language strategie as applied in public speaking and in general conversation.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd