An Initial Sociolinguistic Analysis of Aljouf Dialect

Keywords: sociolinguistic; dialectal differences; age; gender, Aljouf; Saudi Arabia.


This paper presents an initial sociolinguistic analysis of the varieties of Saudi Arabic spoken in the Aljouf region. The main objective of the paper is to uncover some of the sociolinguistic aspects characterizing the Jouf dialect as distinct from other Arabic variants in Saudi Arabic. Word lists and interviews were used for collecting data in Aljouf and four other areas, namely Ha’il, Alhijaz, Jazan, and Alkhubar. Four other dialects were included to provide a comparative dimension for the analysis, which was expected to consolidate the findings. Students enrolled in the sociolinguistics course at Jouf University participated actively in the process of data collection. The main criteria for selecting students were an affiliation with Aljouf and the named comparable regions. Results suggest that there are clear dialectal differences between the Aljouf dialect and the four other dialects. Variations in lexical choice were found to be relatively large between regions. Specifically, the differences between the Aljouf dialect and the Jazan dialect are greater than those between the Aljouf dialect and the Ha’il dialect. Age and gender differences were found to be significant among speakers of the Aljouf dialect. The speech of men and women proved to be slightly different with regard to certain lexical choices. Men and women used certain words that were exclusive to each sex. Speech variants between young men and women were reported by a considerable number of subjects. Slang and swearing, on the other hand, were identified as characterizing the speech of young males, who tended to use these words less as they approached adulthood.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Abdelrahim Hamid Mugaddam, Jouf University - Saudi Arabia

Professor (Linguistics). Director, Institute of African & Asian Studies, University of Khartoum


Alahamadi, S. D. (2015). Loanwords in the Urban Meccan Hijazi Dialect: An Analysis of Lexical Variation according to Speakers’ sex., Age and Education. International Journal of English Linguistics, 5(6), 34.

Al-Rubaat, A (2022). The relationship between the morphological phenomena of the current Sakakan dialect and the modern standard Arabic. Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 8(1) 1-2.

Al-Rubaat, A., & Qarqaz, A.A (2019). Supra Segmental Phonology in Sakaka Dialect and Its Relation to the Modern Standard Arabic. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 9(5). 330.

Clopper, C., & Pisoni, D. B. (2005). Perception of Dialect Variation. In D.B. Pisoni, R. E. Remez. The Handbook of Speech Perception (312-337)

Coates, J. (1996). Women Talk. Basil Blackwell.

Ferguson, C.A. (2003). Diglossia. In The bilingualism reader (pp.71-86). 616-630. doi:

Fischer, J. (1958). Social influences on the choice of a linguistic variant. Word 14, 47–56.

Holmes, J. & Wilson, N. (2022). An introduction to sociolinguistics. 6th edition. Routledge.

Ishkewy, H. H. & Farahat, H. (2014). An Arabic lexical ontology. International Journal of Web & Semantics Technology (IJWesT). 5(4). 71-82.

Kamp, K.A., & Yoffee, N. (1980). Ethnicity in ancient Western Asia during the early second millennium BC: archaeological assessments and ethnoarchaeological perspectives. Bulletin of the American school of oriental Research, 237(1),85-104. https: //

Labov, W. (1966). The Social Stratifi cation of English in New York City. Center for Applied Linguistics.

Labov, W. (1972a). Sociolinguistic Patterns. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Labov, W. (1972b). Language in the Inner City: Studies in the Black English Vernacular. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Lucas, C. (2014). Contact-induced language change. In C. Bowein & B.Evans (Eds.). The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics. Routledge

Mugaddam, A.H. (2015). Identity Construction and Linguistic Manipulation in Randuk. In Nassenstein, & Hollington (Eds). Youth Language Practices in African and Beyond. De Gruyter Mounton.

Mugaddam, A.H. (2012). Aspects of Youth Language in Khartoum. Proceedings, the 6th World Congress of African Languages.

Pisoni, D.B., & Remez, R.E. (2005). The handbook of speech perception. Blackwell.

Tahir, I. (2009). Copula in standard English and its counterpart in Standard Arabic. Al-Faith Journal, 5(39), 74-88.

Thomas, B. (1988). Differences of sex and sects: linguistic variation and social networks in a Welsh mining village. In J. Coates and D. Cameron (eds), Women in their Speech Communities. Longman

Versteegh, K. (2001). Linguistic contacts between Arabic and other languages. Arabica, 48(Fasc.4). 470-508.

How to Cite
Mugaddam, A. H. (2023). An Initial Sociolinguistic Analysis of Aljouf Dialect. Religación, 8(35), e2301003.