Political and Social Impact on the Linguistic Behavior of Iraqis: A Gender-based Study on Lexical Innovation

Rajaa Sabbar Jaber, Hariharan N. Krishnasamy


In this research, we believe that there is political and social impact on the linguistic choices of males and females. The main objectives of the research are to investigate the way the political and social changes affect the linguistic word choices of Iraqis, and to find out the direction of the gender pattern. The main problem in Arabic sociolinguistics is the absence of a unitary gender pattern differentiation. However, in many cases, men, not women, have attempted to approximate the Standard Arabic. The issue of prestige is also confusing, because each Arab country has a local variety that is prestigious, but not necessarily the standard. This issue has motivated us to study the linguistic differences between males and females in their choices of 12 new lexical items in Baghdad, where all the events of the 2003 war happened. Twenty hours of tape recordings of ten males and ten females were investigated and analyzed. The most important finding in the current research is that female prestige is not associated with the standard variety. Rather, the meaning of words is what should be prestigious. For females, if the meaning of a word is stigmatized, then the word is stigmatized as well even if it is a standard word.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v2n2p10

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