Date of Award

Summer 8-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Sharon K. Deckert, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gian Pagnucci, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Waleed Farag, Ph.D.

Abstract

Nestled in a conceptual grid, the current linguistic study investigates gender-inclusive language in Qur’anic Arabic (QA), the Arabic variety of the Qur’an, the Book of Islam, and Egyptian Arabic (EA), the most ubiquitous variety of Arabic. As far as QA is concerned, the study seeks to offer an understanding of some controversial verses that have, in certain cases, been interpreted with a female-marginalizing patriarchal lens or with an extreme feminist lens, and, so, resulted in women’s subjugation in the case of the former and critiquing the Qur’an for not being fair to women, in the latter. The study presents linguistic evidence that disproves claims of patriarchally-driven interpretations or extreme feminist ones. Verse analysis via Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) unravels what the data is actually about and offers a refutation of views that might lie beyond the bounds of reason, or justice.

As far as EA is concerned, the study takes an action research turn. First, the study tries, via context-free data from EA, and contextualized EA data from numerous YouTube videos, to investigate the language change that some lexical items, like the nominal /Hadd/ “someone”, underwent over the past decade or so; without any preceding language planning, a change in the form of novel ways of usage by EA users, especially within the Egyptian context. The study uses morphosyntax and semantic gender features to fathom this naturally-occurring change, then, pursues a more in-depth analysis of the data by using language engineering to maximize those lexical items’ potential to yield more gender-inclusive uses, especially on the level of their syntax. Activating the semantic gender features of those items, paired with their grammatical gender features, allows for new further gender-inclusive techniques in constructions where those lexical items could occur.

The study also offers a new gender-inclusive EA epicene and looks at job titles from a CDA perspective.

Available for download on Thursday, September 28, 2017

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