Animal Names Used to Address People in Jordanian Spoken Arabic*

Ahmad Mohammad Al-Harahsheh, Ra'fat Mahmoud Al-rousan


This paper examines the metaphorical and vocative uses of animal names in Jordanian Spoken Arabic (JSA) to address people, either abusively or affectionately, thereby communicating the attitudes and feelings of the speakers toward their addressees. The results of the study are based on a survey that contained 44 animal names which were distributed to100 undergraduate students (50 males and 50 females) at Yarmouk University, Jordan. This study is qualitative in nature. The participants were asked (a) to determine if they use the animal name to address a male or a female, (b) to determine the pragmatic meanings attached to these animals, (c) to give the syntactic structures in which they use these names, and (d) to describe real situations in which these names are used in Jordanian Spoken Arabic (JSA).The study concludes that animal vocative structures are usually used as human invectives. The study also reveals that Jordanians attribute animal names to humans based on the following aspects: Appearance, Behaviour, Intelligence, and Character. The study suggests that linguists should consider such aspects when conducting pragmatic studies about speech conversations in JSA. This study highlights a significant pragmatic feature of JSA.


Animal names, Jordanian Spoken Arabic, addressing people, pragmatics

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