Loanwords in the Urban Meccan Hijazi Dialect: An Analysis of Lexical Variation according to Speakers’ Sex, Age and Education

  •  Sameeha Alahmadi    


This study aims to investigate the degree of lexical variation in Urban Meccan Hijazi Arabic (UMH) by identifying the loan words that are commonly spoken in this dialect and determining from which languages they have been borrowed. Also, it explores the effect of social factors such as age, sex and educational level on the use of loan words by UMH speakers. For the purpose of the study, I designed a questionnaire and distributed it to eighty participants whose mother tongue is UMH. The sample consisted of three groups, namely, old and young, male and female and educated and uneducated participants. In order to provide answers to the research questions, the questionnaire was divided into two sections; section one investigates the participants’ background, i.e., their age, sex, educational level, how long have they been living in Mecca, etc., and section two examines their use of the loan words in UMH. The results revealed that in addition to some words that have been borrowed from Persian and Italian, most of the loan words found in UMH have been borrowed from Turkish. This could have resulted from the Ottoman occupation of Saudi Arabia for around 400 years, and the interaction with pilgrims who visit Mecca every year. Additionally, the results of the t-tests showed that the differences between the three groups (i.e., old vs. young, male vs. female and educated vs. uneducated) are statistically significant. This indicates that the three social factors play a crucial role in the participants’ use of the loan words in UMH. Finally, the study concludes with some recommendations for further research. 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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