Exploring Attitudes, Identity, and Linguistic Variation among Arabic Speakers: Insights from Acoustic Landscapes





language attitudes, language behavior, language diversity, language flexibility, social identity


This study endeavors to delve into the diverse attitudes held by Arabic speakers towards dialects, language utilization, and pronunciation, while concurrently analyzing the impact of social identity on their language conduct. Adopting a qualitative research framework, the study employed open-ended questions to gather comprehensive data from a representative subset of proficient Arabic speakers. A broad spectrum of participants offered valuable insights into their attitudes toward dialects, perceptions regarding the imperative nature of attaining flawless Arabic proficiency, levels of linguistic adaptability, self-assurance in spoken Arabic, as well as the compelling influence of their social identities on pronunciation. The analysis of the gathered responses revealed appreciation among participants for the richness of dialectical diversity, which they perceived as a formidable strength. Paradoxically, these individuals also experienced considerable pressure to achieve an elusive standard of perfect Arabic proficiency, driven by the demanding expectations of work and social spheres. Additionally, participants exhibited some degree of flexibility in their approach to language use, manifesting varying levels of confidence in their Arabic speaking abilities. Significantly, the study uncovered a correlation between social identity and pronunciation patterns, illuminating how one's identity exerts a tangible influence on their linguistic articulation.  

Author Biographies

Awad Alshehri, Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University

Associate professor of applied linguistics

College of Languages and Translation

Abdulrahman AlShabeb, Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University

Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud Islamic University, KSA


Abdelfattah, Ilona and Veronika Ritt-Benmimoun. (2022). ‘Language attitudes in Northwestern Tunisia and their implication for speech patterns’. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 2022 (278): 259-283. https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2022-0008

Abudalbuh, Mujdey. (2010). Effects of gender on the production of emphasis in Jordanian Arabic: A sociophonetic study’. University of Kansas. DOI:10.17161/KWPL.1808.8096

Adam, Salah. (2017). A sociolinguistic investigation of language shift among Libyan Touareg: The case of Ghat and Barakat. PhD dissertation, University of Essex.

Al-Khasawneh, Fadi Maher. (2016). ‘Investigating foreign language learning anxiety: A case of Saudi undergraduate EFL learners’. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 12 (1):137-148.

Al-Tamimi, Jalal and Ghada Khattab. (2018). ‘Acoustic correlates of the voicing contrast in Lebanese Arabic singleton and geminate stops’. Journal of Phonetics, 71: 306-325.

Albirini, Abdulkafi. (2016). Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity. New York: Routledge.

Aljutaily, Mohammad and Metab Alhoody. (2020). ‘Some characteristics of syllable structure in Qassimi Arabic (QA): An optimality theoretic framework’. International Journal of English Linguistics 10 (4). DOI:10.5539/ijel.v10n4p193

Aljutaily, Mohammad Fahad. (2018). “The influence of linguistic and non-linguistic factors on the variation of Arabic marked consonants in the speech of Gulf Pidgin Arabic: Acoustic analysis”. PhD diss. University of Georgia Athens.

Asiri, Rana Hassan Ahmad. (2019). ‘Effect of using English as a medium of instruction in primary international schools on the children's first language and cultural identity’. Studies in Literature and Language, 18 (2):15-25. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/10911

Bettega, Simone. (2018). ‘Agreement patterns in Omani Arabic: Sociolinguistic conditioning and diachronic developments’. Sociolinguistic Studies, 12 (2), 143-163. DOI:10.1558/sols.35650 .

Clarke, Victoria, Virginia Braun, and Nikki Hayfield. (2015). ‘Thematic analysis’. Qualitative Psychology: A Practical Guide to Research Methods, 3:222-248.

Coulmas, Florian. (2013). Sociolinguistics: The Study of Speakers' Choices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Eid, Mushira. (1988). ‘Principles for code-switching between standard and Egyptian Arabic’. al-'Arabiyya, 51-79.

El Zein, Basma and Ahmed Al Jarwan. (2021). Paths to a Culture of Tolerance and Peace. New York: Taylor and Francis.

Gentles, Stephen J, Cathy Charles, Jenny Ploeg, and K Ann McKibbon. (2015). ‘Sampling in qualitative research: Insights from an overview of the methods literature’. The Qualitative Report, 20 (11): 1772-1789. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2015.2373

Hanani, Fatiha. (2009). Impact of English on young Arabs' use of Arabic in the UAE. http://hdl.handle.net/11073/75

Harbi, Abdullah Mohammed. (2022). Arabic diglossia and its impact on the social communication and learning process of non-native Arabic learners: Students' perspective. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/th.283

Jahr, Ernst Håkon. (2011). Language Change: Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics. Vol. 114: Walter de Gruyter.


Kainuwa, Ahmad, N Binti, and M Yusuf. (2013). ‘Influence of socioeconomic and educational background of parents on their children's education in Nigeria’. International Journal of Scientific and Research Pulications, 3 (10): 2250-3153.

Miller, Catherine, Enam Al-Wer, Dominique Caubet, and Janet CE Watson. (2007). Arabic in the City: Issues in Dialect Contact and Language Variation. London: Routledge.

Mouleme, Manel, and Riad Belouahem. (2020). “Switching between modern standard Arabic and Algerian Arabic”. PhD diss. Université Frères Mentouri-Constantine 1.

Munro, Murray J. (1993). ‘Productions of English vowels by native speakers of Arabic: Acoustic measurements and accentedness ratings’. Language and Speech, 36 (1): 39-66. DOI: 10.1177/002383099303600103

Mustafawi, Eiman. (2017). ‘Arabic phonology’. The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Linguistics,11-31.

Ng, Dana Funywe and Juanjuan Zhao. (2015). ‘Investigating Cantonese speakers' language attitudes in Mainland China’. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 36 (4):357-371.


Zoghbor, Wafa Shahada. (2014). ‘English varieties and Arab learners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Attitude and perception’. Arab World English Journal, 5 (2): 167-186.


Date of Publication


How to Cite

Alshehri, A., & AlShabeb, A. (2024). Exploring Attitudes, Identity, and Linguistic Variation among Arabic Speakers: Insights from Acoustic Landscapes. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies, 24(2), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.33806/ijaes.v24i2.587



Table of Contents