Author

Kerry Corbett

Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Linguistics

First Advisor

Mark E. Karan

Abstract

The Fur language of Darfur, Sudan has been undergoing a decades-long language shift to the more dominant and prestigious Arabic spoken throughout the country. However, a decade of conflict in Darfur has brought greater awareness of ethnic identity and disrupted the previously-documented language shift. Using questionnaires, this study explores the current language use patterns and attitudes of 286 individuals in two towns and four Internally Displaced People camps in Darfur. It uses interviews to further explore language attitudes. The research shows that demographic variables such as gender, age, and level of education affect language use and attitudes and confirms that conflict has played a role in reversing language shift. Based on the theory that motivation is the greatest indicator of ethnolinguistic vitality, the findings of this research predict that the Fur people will maintain their language in the future as part of their ethnic identity.

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