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Edited by Jacob Høigilt and Gunvor Mejdell

The Politics of Written Language in the Arab World connects the fascinating field of contemporary written Arabic with the central sociolinguistic notions of language ideology and diglossia. Focusing on Egypt and Morocco, the authors combine large-scale survey data on language attitudes with in-depth analyses of actual language usage and explicit (and implicit) language ideology. They show that writing practices as well as language attitudes in Egypt and Morocco are far more receptive to vernacular forms than has been assumed.

The individual chapters cover a wide variety of media, from books and magazines to blogs and Tweets. A central theme running through the contributions is the social and political function of “doing informality” in a changing public sphere steadily more permeated by written Arabic in a number of media.

The e-book version of this publication is available in Open Access.

Beáta Gyuris

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to provide new insights for the analysis of bias in polar questions by showing that the distinction proposed by Sudo (2013) between evidential and epistemic biases leads to an integrated picture of the Hungarian system of polar interrogatives. For the first time, a comprehensive analysis of this system is given here and it is shown how the contributions of certain formal features, such as the interrogative and the negative particles, can be captured independently. This perspective helps to explain restrictions on the occurrences of the different forms of polar interrogatives in Hungarian with respect to a large number of question uses. The paper derives the biases associated with the individual constituents from different sources and makes some proposals on how their impact could be incorporated into a formal model of dialogue.

Gerard O’Grady

Simon-Vandenbergen (2000: 61) concluded her study of I think in political discourse by noting the importance of further study of its prosodic realisation. Consequently, I investigate the prosodic realisations of I think in political debates. At the same time, I examine the lexico-grammatical form of the construction, and its surrounding co-text. My exploration confirmed that I think is frequent in political speech, and revealed that it projected four types of meanings. Three of the meanings occurred irrespective of the intonational choices, though prosody influenced the likelihood of the occurrence of a particular meaning. There was a greater likelihood of the speaker expressing a tentative statement if think was prominent/tonic. Intonational prominence on I explicitly warranted the source of the evaluation. When the construction did not contain an intonational prominence it tended to signal commitment to a proposition, or if followed by a filled pause or rhythmic disjunction a hesitation marker.

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Edited by Jacob Høigilt and Gunvor Mejdell