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Poster: Alsamaani

Arabic by Non-Arabs: The Case of Gulf Pidgin Arabic

Mohammad Alsamaani 

In response to the growing global demand for oil, many people have flooded into the Gulf States (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Emirates and Oman) in search of economic opportunities. While a number of these individuals have found employment with companies and businesses whose daily operations are conducted in English, the remainders have ended up employed by Arabic-speaking individuals, necessitating day-to-day communication in Arabic. This process of pidginization has produced a version of Arabic known as Gulf pidgin Arabic (GPA). This paper is meant to comment on the grammatical features of GA that are missing from GPA and to see if GPA speakers always simplify.

In the last two decades, GPA has been discussed from a linguistic perspective as in Hobrom (1996) and Almoaily (2013). Later, Potsdam & Alanazi (2014) have focused mainly on the syntactic features of fi as a copular verb in GPA, which behaves like the English to be. Predating these studies, Smart (1990) has depended entirely on written contexts to examine the linguistics of GPA, and recently, Salem (2013) has done a short phonological and syntactic investigation of GPA spoken in Kuwait. These works among others have provided some basis for my analysis of GPA. The paper has discussed the typological constructions of GPA. Most of the examples of GPA’s simplification involve morpho-syntactic structure. Additionally, two instances of complexity are found, the use of a phrasal verb instead of one verb and the use of a three-word construction at a stage when one or two are sufficient. Finally, the overall data has reflected no case of complementizers, expletive elements, or any quantifiers.