"Arabness" in the Syrian Media: Political messages conveyed by linguistic means

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The historically fragmented society of Syria is a source of potential tension between the ruling 'Alawi minority on the one hand and the ruled Sunni majority and other minority sects on the other hand. In order to gain the good will of the majority, the official media invest great effort in accentuating the one element held in common by most parts of the Syrian population: the 'Urūbah - the national character of the Arabs. By emphasizing this element the regime endeavors to foster a rallying consciousness of unity based upon the common ethnic and linguistic background of all Syrians - majority and minorities - as Arabs, and upon their state being an Arab state with its president recognized as a true Arab leader in spite of his belonging to the 'Alawi minority sect. This paper describes some ways in which linguistic means - such as orthography, terminology, syntax, and semantics - are utilized in the Syrian public political discourse to convey messages of "Arabness."

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-146
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language
Issue number137
StatePublished - 1999


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