— Ph.D., University of Texas - Austin
- E-mail: email@example.com
I am a Ph.D. candidate in Arabic linguistics, currently working on my dissertation which draws on sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, and language contact studies to reconstruct Pre-Islamic Arabic Dialects (not Proto-Arabic). My dissertation advisors are Kristen Brustad (Department of Middle Eastern Studies) and Patience Epps (Department of Linguistics). I hope that this dissertation will be able to give a better idea of what spoken Arabic dialects looked like prior to the Islamic expansions so that more work can begin to work on determining the extent and nature of substrate influence from the languages (Middle Persian, Aramaic, Coptic, Tamazight, etc) that eventually shifted to Arabic over the centuries. I hope to situate my work between both Arabic studies and general linguistics.
Though my dissertation is historical in nature, I am a general linguist and conduct research in a number of different areas. My master's thesis (now in press as an article in Zeitschrift for arabische Linguistik) analyzed when speakers used case markings in formal spoken Arabic, and concluded that a number of factors, including discourse salience of case-marked referents, register variation, and stylistic choices all influence the use of case markings. While abroad in Syria, I designed and conducted a survey to investigate how speakers choose linguistic elements (words, morphemes, syntactic structures) when writing in a single register. This is now an article in press with the Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies.
I founded the annual Jil Jadid ("New Generation) Graduate Conference in Arabic Studies in 2011, which aims to bring together junior scholars who work on Arabic literature, linguistics and pedagogy. Many junior scholars are in quite different departments (Near Eastern Studies, Linguistics, Comparative Literature) and have few chances to meet peers working on the same topics. The goal of the Jil Jadid conference is to bring together these scholars so that they can begin to collaborate on similar projects, enabling us to do much larger and more complex projects than if we worked alone. At the same time, the Jil Jadid conference aims to find a model for conferences that is effective at creating and maintaining a lasting dialogue, avoiding the "fire-and-forget" method of presenting and adverserial Q&A sessions. Jil Jadid 2011 was extremely successful, and I look forward to Jil Jadid 2012, organized by Anthony Edwards. I also have to thank all the graduate students who have made both Jil Jadid conferences possible, piling the task of helping to organize the conference on top of already strenuous courseloads.
I was fortunate to begin studying Arabic at the University of Minnesota while a junior in high school, through the Post-Secondary Educational Options program. I continued studying at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where I received my BA in Linguistics (Honors in the Major). In my junior year, I studied abroad in Jordan, funded by an NSEP grant, studying at the University of Jordan's Language Center. After my first year as a master's student at the University of Texas, I was part of the inaugeral class of students in CASA - Damascus. Since returning from Damascus, I have also studied Moroccan Colloquial Arabic (darija), visiting Morocco several times. I hope to continue studying both Levantine and North African dialects, and plan to learn some Gulf Arabic as well (which I have worked with in a linguistic capacity.)
My favorite Arabic author is Ghazi Abd al-Rahman al-Qusaybi (غازي عبد الرحمن القصيبي) who recently passed away. I have a fondness for silly Arabic comedies, especially Bath Bayyakha (بث بياخة), Maa Fii Amal (ما في امل), and of course the venerable Baq3at Dow2 (بقعة ضوء). I have a large collection of Arabic pop and folk music, and my favorites include (among many many others) Julia Butrus, Ziad Rahbani, Kulna Sawa, May Nasr, Nas al-Ghiwan, and of course the greats, Umm Kulthoum, Abd al-Halim Hafez, and Fairuz.