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Question description

Guidelines and Topics for Project 2

Working in groups of no more thanthree, you are required to conduct a data-based investigation of a linguistic topic related to one of the concepts we have discussed: Diglossia, bilingualism, switching, borrowing, gender, regional or social dialects, attitudes, etc., (see possible topics below).


The collective essay should be no shorter than 10 pages 92500 words), typed, double-spaced including references, surveys, and any charts, etc.

Citation and List of Sources Cited

Should you decide to refer to dictionaries, web sites, or articles/books, do the following:

• Name all (but also only) sources you used. This includes books, articles, websites.

• Use a consistent and complete format for all your quotations.

• List all your sources in the List of Sources Cited, the final section of your paper

General Comments

• Structure your paper clearly and purposefully by dividing it into sections; in addition, divide each section into purposeful paragraphs.

• Insert page numbers.

• Avoid conversational, informal language; however, do not replace it with convoluted language.

• Avoid any kind of jargon and wordiness, i.e., don’t try to impress the reader with "big" words and statements; instead, use clear writing to make an impact on the reader.

• If you include tables or graphs as an appendix instead of in the main body of the paper, make sure you help the reader locate it (e.g. "see Appendix 1").

• If at all possible, let a person unfamiliar with Linguistics read your paper to assess its clarity.

Spell-check and proof-read your paper for typos and grammatical errors.

Possible Topics:

1. Linguistic awareness among UA students: How much do students know about the languages of the Middle East? Design a survey of 20 questions and ask 40 students to fill it out. You may ask questions like: The official language of Iran is _; Kurdish is closely related to _, etc. Tabulate and analyze your results.

2. Attitudes toward accents: Using a matched-guise or verbal-guise technique and a bipolar or situational questionnaire, evaluate college students’ attitudes toward different Middle Eastern accents. Record one passage in four or five different accents, then survey 30 students using a bi-polar survey containing 10 adjectives with their opposites; e.g., educated/uneducated, feminine/unfeminine, pleasant/harsh, etc.; . You need to submit the questionnaire, tape, and results of your survey. You may use exercise 10.4 in Bell as a model.

3. Attitudes toward languages: How do Middle Eastern speakers feel about their language relative to other languages? Construct a questionnaire in which you elicit speakers’ attitudes using a scalar survey. You may refer to Ferguson’s articles “Myths about Arabic” and “Diglossia”.

4. Gender Asymmetries: Consider lexical asymmetries in a Middle Eastern language that potentially display gender bias. Your primary source of data will be one of your group members (or an outsider willing to serve as a consultant) who is a native speaker of the language; you may also consult dictionaries or other secondary sources of data. Consider disparaging uses of titles, personal names, kinship terms, taboo language, or terms of reference. Are males and females referred to or addressed equitably?

5. Codeswitching: Investigate how topic, situation, listener, and sense of self-identity influence linguistic choice. Survey 10 bilingual speakers, with at least one Middle Eastern language speaker, using a situational survey.

6. Gender and language: Do our cultural beliefs about gender affect L2 use? Construct 30 verb phrases of different action verbs then ask 9 students from three different regions including the Middle East to place them in sentences. Analyze the sentences; do they reflect gender biases potentially stemming from certain cultures? Do you detect any shared values reflected in these sentences?

7. Personal names in Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish or Persian; Choose one language and survey a male and female native speaker about the 20 most popular names for girls and 20 for boys. Ask them for the meaning of the name if any. Record the list then transcribe carefully. Analyze the list: To what extent do naming practices reflect societal values of masculinity and femininity? Compare with names in your language/culture.

8. Taboo forms in Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish and Persian: How does taboo language reflect societal values of the body, femininity and masculinity, kinship relations, love and sexuality, etc.? Is taboo language universal or relative? Choose two of the Middle Eastern languages and survey two or more native speakers about taboo language; ask questions about how they express anger, talk about sex, bodily functions, jokes, swear words etc. Record the list of forms then transcribe carefully. Compare the two lists from the two languages looking for similarities and differences. You may also compare with English or Spanish if you wish.

9. Interview two bilingual families where one parent speaks a Middle Eastern language. Construct interview questions focusing on how they raise or prefer to raise their children. Are they in favor of raising a bilingual child, or do they speak to the child in the dominant language? Do you agree with their approach to bilingualism? What advice do you have for either or both families?

10. Other? If you have an idea for a project, write it up and email it to me; if approved, you’re on!


  • Why aren't Saudi dialects taught and spoken worldwide?
  • Are we supposed to be teaching Saudi dialects in the Middle East in schools?
  • Are they supposed to speak one Saudi dialect when it comes to policy in Saudi Arabia?
  • Would it be good for Saudi Arabia to unite under one dialect?
  • Would it be good for the Gulf countries to unite under the Saudi dialect?
  • Which dialect of Saudi would be the best to unite the Middle East?
  • Do you think that you should speak the Saudi dialect while observing Muslim occasions?
  • Do you think that how they write the newspapers in the Gulf countries is derived from the Saudi dialects?
  • How do you think that the Saudi dialects affect the Middle East?
  • Do Saudi dialects affect entertainment throughout the country or the Middle East?


Arabic is a language that is centralized in a small portion of the world, whereas the larger, latin-based languages are more prevalent.

I would say yes.If you are teaching students with varying dialects, I think they should be taught all of them.

I would say yes.It is easier to understand policy when it is focused in one language/dialect.

Yes.Commonality would be better.

Maybe.I would say it would probably be better to unite under the most prevalent dialect.

The most prevalent Arabic dialect.

Yes, if you are from Saudi Arabia.If not, I would think you should speak the dialect from your country or culture.

That depends on the dialect of Arabic that they are writing in.

If it is the most prevalent dialect, than probably significantly.

Yes in Saudi Arabia.Possibly in other countries depending on the most prevalent dialect spoken.

Tutor Answer

School: Rice University


Running Head: TABOO


Language Taboo

Name of the student
Institution Affiliation


In any particular society, there are various implicit prohibitions based on culture,
religion or moral beliefs. These prohibited implicit are what are known as taboos. They
are there to protect the norms and morals of a society, and that is why taboos are present
in every society in the world. In Turkish, Arabic, Persian and Hebrew there are many
taboos and are strictly observed. Some of these taboos are sex, same-sex marriages,
mental illnesses, arranged marriages, racism, religion and domestic. Consequences of
these taboos are severe in some societies than others, and in some other societies, they
aren't taboos at all.
In these places, anything that deals with sex, either sex before marriage, between
family members or sex education is prohibited, and it is punishable by death. It is one of
the harshest punishments to those who commit taboos. Due to people being forbidden to
talk or be taught about sex, there are confusions, trauma and misunderstanding when
these young men and women get married. It also leads to misconceptions about sex,
unsafe sex and STDs.
Mental illness is a taboo in these areas too even though people who suffer from
mental illnesses are in need of societies help. People in these societies tend to ignore the
problem, and they are prohibited from even talking about it since they are afraid of how
others will react. They need to be supported but since it is a taboo, they are treated as
outcasts, and they are shunned from society. This isolation creates an atmosphere of
isolations and misery to those affected causing them to hurt themselves and in worst
cases commit suicide.


Domestic abuse is a common thing in these regions, but still, it is a taboo. The
reason why this happens is that men treat women as objects. Husbands are required to
pay dowry in the form of goats and camels and therefore, they feel entitled to ownership
of their wives. This leads to men abusing their wives. However, victims of home abuse
will never acknowledge they were abused because they are afraid. Sometimes they are
blamed for the abuse, so everyone ignores their abuse, and this continues. This act is
witnessed by children who grow up thinking of abusing and being abused is a regular
thing. They grow up, and they are repeating the same thing, either abusing or being
abused and there is nothing they can do due to ignorance.
Other taboos on this list like homosexuality, same-sex marriages and religious
beliefs are taboos in some countries especially those in the Middle East. However, they
are being faced out in the developing world especially in the United States. A few years
ago in this country where it was taboo to talk about same-sex marriages and
homosexuality, it is now a norm where same-sex marriages are a common occurrence,
and they are accepted by a lot of people. In Persia, Arabic and other Middle East regions
these are still taboos where they are punished by death or being shunned from the
Taboo language reflection on societal values
Taboo language is everywhere in the world although it is not similar in every

culture. The way a language is used tells a lot about the importance the society places on
certain things. When it comes to the importance or the value the above societies place on
the body and some of the body parts, there can never be a better distinction. In these


societies, the ment...

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