Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Rodríguez-Ordóñez, Itxaso


The majority of scholars’ work on code-switching within the sociolinguistic approach of Arabic has been mainly concentrated on the interaction of the Standard variety with other regional dialects in indigenous communities (Albirini, 2011; Bassiouney, 2006; Saeed, 1997; Soliman, 2008). Their work also extends to include the interaction of Arabic with other languages in informal and highly interactional settings (Abalhassan and Alshalawi, 2000; Safi, 1992; Sayahi, 2014). When it comes to the religious settings, their work has been solely devoted to Standard Arabic and Dialectal Arabic in Arabic countries and among Arabic native speakers (Albirini, 2011; Bassiouney, 2006; Saeed, 1997; Soliman, 2008). This thesis, in turn, investigates CS between Arabic and English in highly formal religious settings in the United States and among American Islamic preachers, non-native speakers of Arabic. It aims to enumerate the social functions of CS between English and Arabic and provides the internal optimal bilingual grammar of these speakers. To achieve these goals, two analyses have been conducted, the functional analysis and the optimality-theoretic analysis. The results of the first analysis revealed that preachers chiefly switch from English to Arabic for eight functions: (1) to use formulaic expressions; (2) to introduce direct quotations; (3) to show a level of education in the Islamic studies; (4) to show a level of education in the Arabic language; (5) to evoke Muslimness and Islamic affiliation; (6) to mark emphasis; (7) to stress the importance of a speech segment; and (8) to introduce rhyming stretches. On the other hand, they switch from Arabic to English mainly to fulfill two functions: (1) to translate the previous Arabic stretch; and (2) to simplify, explain, and clarify a segment that was previously mentioned in Arabic. The result of the optimality-theoretic analysis showed that the internal optimal bilingual grammar of American preachers is {FAITH, FACE} >> PERSPECTIVE >> {SOLIDARITY, POWER}.




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