This sociolinguistic study examines stance and indexes of three linguistic codes in the Egyptian society: English, Standard Arabic (SA), and Egyptian Colloquial Arabic (ECA) by analyzing examples of code-switching (CS), in the Egyptian novel Zaat or Self by the Egyptian writer, Son’a Allah Ibrahim. Zaat has a unique structure among other Arabic novels, meaning that all the odd-numbered chapters narrate the life of Zaat, the heroine, but even-numbered chapters reflect factual incidents that took place in Egypt during the rule of presidents Mohamed Anwar El Sadat and Mohamed Hosni Mubarak. The theory of indexicality (Bassiouney, 2012, 2013, 2014; Myers-Scotton, 2010; Woolard, 2004) was used to analyze data as well as linguistic resources, such as: presuppositions, intertextuality, and pronouns (Bassiouney, 2014). Application of the indexicality theory showed that in Egypt each linguistic code has several indexes that differ according to the situation. English for instance enjoys the positive indexes of (1) good education, (2) modernity, (3) social prestige, and (4) developed countries. On the other hand, it also has the negative index of conspiring with the West. As for SA, it also has positive indexes, such as: (1) authority, (2) literacy, (3) education, and (4) Islam; however it also has the negative index of being outdated. As far as ECA is concerned, it signals the following indexes; (1) daily interaction, (2) authenticity, and (3) belonging to Egyptian masses. These indexes assisted in identifying the stances characters took in the novel, whether towards each other or towards social events. In some examples, characters preferred to take the stance of belonging to a certain group by using its linguistic code, while in other situations characters resorted to CS as they sought divergence from a certain group. Characters also took various stances, such as, belonging to a higher social class and being more educated, powerful, or religious.


Applied Linguistics Department

Degree Name

MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Graduation Date

Fall 1-17-2016

Submission Date


First Advisor

Agameya, Amira

Committee Member 1

Plumlee, Marilyn

Committee Member 2

Gebril, Atta


82 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

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Available for download on Tuesday, February 02, 9999