The Department of French and Italian

Italian Placement Testing on 08/28 in HRH 2.106B @ 1:30 pm

Guest Lecturer: Lotfi Sayahi, University at Albany, State University of New York

Arabic/French code-switching and contact-induced language change

Wed, September 29, 2010 | HRH 2.118 French and Italian Lounge

12:00 PM

Lotfi Sayahi
University at Albany, State University of New York
Arabic/French code-switching and contact-induced language change

This presentation examines the patterns of Arabic/French borrowing and code-switching and its implications for contact-induced change in the Tunisian dialect, from a quantitative sociolinguistic perspective. The purpose is to assess lexical and morpho-syntactic interference from French into Arabic, by reference to the social factors of gender and education.

Recorded semi-directed sociolinguistic interviews with twelve speakers are examined for type and frequency of borrowing and code-switching. In addition to showing the extensive presence of French loanwords in Tunisian Arabic, the work argues for the presence of structural interference from French into Arabic, including borrowing of /p/ and /v/, acceleration of the regularization process of the plural through the exclusive use of the regular Arabic inflection for the plural with French loanwords, and, at the syntactic level, spread of the analytic form of attributive posses- sion that is accelerated by the high rates of usage of the genitive exponent with French words.

Dr. Lotfi Sayahi is Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He earned his B.A. in Spanish and English from the University of Tunis and earned a Ph.D. degree in Linguistics from the University Complutense of Madrid. His research focuses on language contact and language change, particularly in North Africa and Spain. He has published articles that appear in International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Revista Internacional Lingüística Iberoamericana, The Journal of Language Sciences, The Journal of Sociolinguistics, Cahiers Linguistiques d’Ottawa, The Afro-Hispanic Review, and The Journal of North African Studies, and has edited multiple proceedings of the Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics. His book project, on diglossia, language contact, and language change, is under contract with Cambridge University Press.

Professor Sayahi will be on campus September 28-30. He will deliver another talk, entitled “Spanish in contact with Arabic: Historical and current perspectives” on Wednesday, September 29 at 2:00 in MEZ 1.216. All are invited.
If you should like to meet with Professor Sayahi during his visit, please contact Professor Barbara Bullock ( or Professor Almeida Jacqueline Toribio (

Sponsored by: Department of French and Italian

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Tavola Italiana

Informal Italian conversation practice Fridays 3-4pm at the Texas Union's Cactus Café. Open to all students of Italian. Contact Antonella Olson for more information.

Le Cercle français

Informal French conversation practice Fridays in the Texas Union's Cactus Café from 3-4pm. Open to all students of French. Contact Nancy Guilloteau for more information.


Italian Placement Testing 

Professor Antonella will be administering placement exams on Monday, August 28th in HRH 2.106B at 1:30 pm. If you are seeking to take an Italian Language Placement Test, please attend this session. Due to time constraints makeups are not guranteed.

Cineforum Italiano

Hosting Italian films with English subtitles every Thursdays at 8:00 pm in Mezes B0.306. 

  • Department of French and Italian

    University of Texas at Austin
    201 W 21st Street STOP B7600
    HRH 2.114A
    Austin, TX 78712-1800