ABSTRACT

This article examines the transcription of diglossia in Basma Abdel Aziz’s The Queue (al-Tábúr 2013; translated into English by Elisabeth Jaquette in 2016) and Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad (Frānkishtāyn fī Baghdad 2013; translated into English by Jonathan Wright in 2018), and how it is rendered in translation. The article argues that Abdel Aziz and Saadawi encapsulate diglossia in their novels to crystallize the immediacy of sociopolitical upheavals through the momentum of the Arab Spring and the colonial background of Iraq. The juxtaposition of high variety (Standard Arabic) and low variety (colloquial Arabic) is engineered toward the democratization of everyday language Arabic Science Fiction (ASF) to engage with ongoing events, thereby capturing the immediacy of the present in one genre. In doing so, Abdel Aziz and Saadawi constitute an archetype project of diglossia in the realm of ASF, opening a new linguistic chapter to convey a local spectrum of literary narrative beyond the convention of literary language, which uses standard Arabic as a serious literary medium. Thus, both novelists bridge the gap between high and low varieties, providing a new political immediacy to their societies.

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