Italian loanwords in colloquial Libyan Arabic as spoken in the Tripoli region.
AuthorAbdu, Hussein Ramadan.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractItalian loadwords in Libyan Arabic have not received the attention and concern they deserve despite their number, high frequency, and wide use by all Libyans at all levels for more than one and a half centuries. This study attempts to record as many Italian loanwords in Libyan Arabic as possible as reported by the Libyan students and their spouses in the United States, to establish a linguistic criterion for the identification of these loanwords in Libyan Arabic, to determine the semantic adaptations they have undergone, and to verify their recognition and use by the students and their spouses. A list of 1000 words suspected to be Italian loanwords were collected through direct observation of Libyan speech, including my own as a native speaker of the dialect, by use of informants and intensive reading. The words were then checked against their possible native models in Italian through the use of Italian dictionaries and consultation with native Italian speakers, most of whom are linguists or language teachers. The list was reduced to 682 words, which were used in the questionnaire sent to 290 Libyan students and their spouses in the United States. From the 148 replies to the questionnaire, it is found that on the average 75% of the respondents know all the 684 words and 58% of them use them. About 82% of the loanwords have literary or colloquial Arabic equivalents. About 55% had presumably entered Libyan Arabic or Libyan Arabic speakers were exposed to them during the 1911-1970 period, which marks the Italian occupation of Libya, 5% between 1832-1910, and 5% between 1970-1985. About 93% of the Italian loanwords are nouns, 7% adjectives, 1% verbs, 0.8% adverbs, and 0.5% interjections. Meanings of most of the loanwords are more pervasive in Italian than in Libyan Arabic. It was also found that most of the loanwords had adopted Arabic grammatical rules for tense formation and inflection for number or gender.
Degree ProgramOriental Studies