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Matched-Guises Technique in Kuwaiti Accent Coursework

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Updated: Sep 14th, 2022


Mean Bedouin Self Confidence.

1 (High) 2 (Medium) 3 (Low)
Self Confidence 25% 50% 25%
Intelligence 25% 75%
Determination 50% 50%
Occupation 25% 25% 50%
Total 125% 200%
Mean 31.25% 40% 18.75%

Mean Standard Arabic Self Confidence.

1 (High) 2 (Medium) 3 (Low)
Self Confidence 50% 50%
Intelligence 50% 50%
Determination 50% 25% 25%
Occupation 25% 75%
Total 175% 150% 25%
Mean 43.75% 37.5% 6.25%

Mean Urban Self Confidence.

1 (High) 2 (Medium) 3 (Low)
Self Confidence 100%
Intelligence 100%
Determination 100%
Occupation 75% 25%
Total 375% 25%
Mean 93.75% 6.25%


The matched guises technique used in this comparison is based on studies that attempt to identify various biases that exist within society (Berg 65). The technique was developed by Wallace Lambert in the 1950’s and 60’s and has been widely used in a wide range of studies within the fields of psychology and linguistics (Auer and Schmidt 544). This choice was made due to the fact that the techniques was found highly successful in revealing stereotypes or biases that exist towards particular social groups (Hamers and Blanc 223). After completing the tests the results of the study indicate that the hypothesis for the study has proven true. The hypothesis of the study indicates that the Kuwaiti Bedouins will change their manner of speaking and adopt the urban manner of speaking. This conclusion can be drawn based on the fact that the mean scores of all subjects indicated that 75% supported the urban speaker.

There are two main dialects used in Kuwait namely, urban and rural. The Bedouins constitute about 50% of the population, while the urban group constitutes about 35% (AlAjlan 16). It is reported the younger generation use language variations to show prestige and social status. It has been suggested that the Bedouins have resorted to the use of (dg) instead of (j) in their manner of speaking.

Studies indicate that of the estimated 6.1 billion people in the world in the year 2000, 2.6% lived outside their country of birth or citizenship (Malecki and Ewers 467). This migration is influenced by the search for greener pastures and regions such as Kuwait in the Gulf of Arabia. The large influx of immigrants was influenced by the discovery of oil in the 70’s which led to huge demand for skilled labor (Malecki and Ewers 474).

The increased demand for skilled labor has led to expansion of urban areas and some subtle changes in language due to increased interaction. This may suggest the source of the 15% of foreign lexemes that affect the language in Kuwait (AlAjlan 9). This migration has also made the Gulf a prime example of the effects of rural to urban migration (Malecki and Ewers 475). This trend can in part explain the growth within urban areas and increased use of urban manner of speech.

According to Aljenaie, the media may be responsible for the changes such as those observed in this study in the Kuwaiti language (1). This is due to the fact that Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is not a mother tongue but is dominant given its widespread use in media and education (AlAjlan 19). In which case the results may then imply increased use of urban speech is a result of increased urbanization and not social variations based on class.

The pivotal role of the media in the life of young people is well understood by both scholars and policy makers. This fact is especially important given that 34% of the population in the Arab world is below the age of 15. In addition to that the median age for the Arab region is 22 which suggest management of youth affairs is crucial to determine the region’s future (Kraidy 337). In addition to this, there has also been rapid change in the telecommunication industry such that a 40 year old parent in the region may have grown with a single television channel while currently cable television ensures provision of hundreds of channels (Kraidy 337).

In addition to this internet penetration is fairly high in the region. This new communication environment that is driven by globally, media driven youth appears to have the potential to detraditionalize various aspects of Arabic culture (Kraidy 341).

Works Cited

AlAjlan, Munirah. “Arabic in Kuwait & the Gulf Area.” NDV – Conference Graz (2011): 1–22. Print.

Aljenaie, Khawla. “The emergence of tense and agreement in Kuwaiti Children Speaking Arabic.” Reading Working Papers in Linguistics 4(2000): 1-25. Print.

Auer, Peter, and Jurgen Erich Schmidt. Language and Space: An International Handbbok of Linguistic variation: Theories and Methods. Printed in Germany: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co., 2010. Print.

Berg, H. Bilingual Children’s Written Voices: Can We Hear Them? Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest Information and Learning Company, 2008. Print.

Giles, Howard. “Evaluative Reactions to Accents.” Education Review 22 (1970): 211-227. Print.

Hamers,Josiane F., and Michel Blanc. Bilinguality and Bilingualism. Cambridge, UK: The press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 2003. Print.

Kraidy, Marwan. “Youth, Media and Culture in the Arab World.” Departmental Papers (ASC) 307(2008): 336-350. Print.

Malecki, Edward J and Michael C. Ewers. “Labor migration to world cities: with a research agenda for the Arab Gulf.” Progress in Human Geography, 31.4 (2007): 467-484. Print.

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