Koineization trends in Spoken Arabic across three Moroccan towns
This paper presents a comparative study of the linguistic data collected during fieldwork in three Arabic-speaking towns in Morocco: Larache, in the north; Temara, on the central Atlantic coast; and Berkane, in the east. The goal of the article is twofold: first of all, it aims at highlighting the new dialectological findings made by analysing the three corpora separately; secondly, it attempts to clarify, by means of a comparative analysis, if there is evidence of a modern koine spreading from the urban areas in Central Morocco to other regions of the country. To these purposes, seven variables pertaining to the levels of phonetics, verbal and nominal morphology are selected for cross-analysis among the three corpora. Previous dialectological data on the same and other Moroccan areas are then taken into account to advance hypotheses on the spread and the ancientness of the identified phenomena of linguistic variation, and their more or less likely connection to the modern koine. The results show that, while there is indeed a certain degree of convergence among the three towns (with Berkane being the least involved in the converging trend), some of the phenomena identified could be explained as accommodation to other varieties having common features with the inter-urban koine, while others could be the result of mutual rather than one-way convergence. More sociolinguistic data are needed to clarify the doubts raised by the analysis.