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Open Access Publications from the University of California

From Nub to Dahab: The Lexical Shift of Fadija Nobiin to Arabic in Egypt

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A language shift occurs in a minority language if the dominant language is widely used in various domains. A shift has occurred, and is still occurring, in Fadija Nobiin because of contact with the Arabic language, which is used by the majority. In this paper, I will investigate language shift in the Nobiin language, particularly lexical change in Fadija Nobiin. More specifically, this paper analyzes heavy lexical borrowing from Arabic into Fadija Nobiin, using a Nobiin folk song as an example. Factors that influence language maintenance and shift are discussed to reflect on the Arabic language influence on a minority language. Nubians, including the speakers of Fadija and other vernaculars, are concerned about their language endangerment and many are showing commitment and cooperation to revitalize it and save it from extinction.

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