Language, Memory, and Identity in the Middle East: The Case of Lebanon

Dr. Franck Salameh, assistant professor of Near Eastern Studies at Boston College, talks about his book. The book proposes a new reading of modern Middle Eastern history and suggests alternate solutions to the region’s problems. The book is an attempt to rehabilitate and bring back to the fore of Middle East Studies the issue of language as a key factor in shaping (and misshaping) the region, with the hope of rediscovering a broader, more honest, and less ideologically tainted discussion on the Middle East. Language, Memory, and Identity in the Middle East has a special focus on Lebanon, because Lebanon has traditionally acted as the region’s template for change and a barometer gauging its problems and charting its progress.

The Lebanese Language

Taken from the Lebanese Language Website



Lebanese is the native language of the people of Lebanon. In addition to daily conversations, Lebanese is used in an extensive body of popular poetry, play production, popular music, television shows, and much more. Due to the huge media production in Lebanese, the language became instrumental in understanding the rest of the languages and dialects spoken in Palestine, and parts of Syria and Jordan.

The Lebanese Language belongs to the West and Central Semitic family of languages that includes Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Arabic. Other forms of this spoken languages include the Palestinian dialects, the Coastal and Central Syrian Dialects and some dialects of Jordanian to a lesser extent. The Lebanese language is an amalgamation of various languages that passed over Lebanon. It is a result of centuries of cumulative linguistic assimilation, thus is the state of every living language today.
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