Palestinian dialects and identities shifting across physical and virtual borders

Uri Horesh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


The 1948 war created a new situation in Palestine. Palestinians became dispersed across political borders that had not existed before, and these borders continued to change in different ways into the 21st century. In many respects, these political borders have had notable linguistic effects, introducing bilingualism and multilingualism for some Palestinians but not all, and subsequently affecting varieties of Palestinian Arabic in terms of their lexica, their grammars, and their speakers' sense of identity and belonging. Newcomers to Palestine, particularly Jewish immigrants from Arabic-speaking countries, were also compelled to adapt their linguistic practices to the new reality into which they implanted themselves. Finally, traditional dialectological boundaries, delineating Palestinian dialects according to regional and local linguistic features, have been affected by population shifts, redrawing of political borders and the catastrophic consequences of the wars the region has endured. This paper attempts to tackle the complex web of borders and boundaries that have shaped much of the sociolinguistics of Palestinians throughout most of the 20th century and into the first two decades of the 21st century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-673
Number of pages27
Issue number5
Early online date3 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • Arabic
  • dialectology
  • Hebrew
  • language contact
  • language variation and change
  • sociolinguistics


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