Past Activities

15. AIDA Conference – 21st – 24th May 2024, Valletta (Malta): The WIBARAB team was represented at this year’s AIDA conference in Valetta, Malta, and had the honor of presenting their research to an audience of Arabists from around the world. The titles of their talks are listed under “publications”. Click here to jump there!

Here are some impressions from the conference days:

Vienna City Marathon – 21st of April 2024: Four arabists from the Institute of Oriental Studies showed their sporty side on Sunday 21 April. Laura, Miriam, Stephan and Rebecca ran the distance of 42.195 kilometres as a team with the camel-inspired name Riyah in staggered fashion and delivered their personal best time of 3:59 hours, for which the team congratulates them warmly!

Stefano Manfredi’s workshop – 4th – 6th of March 2024: Stefano Manfredi from CNRS in Paris paid us a visit from 4th to 6th of March 2024. During these days held a workshop for the Arabic Studies team at the Institute of Oriental Studies in which talked about the many facets of contact linguistics. Although the focus was on Arabic dialectology, Stefano brought a wealth of examples of different phenomena from different languages, which was not only highly interesting, but also useful for understanding the different aspects of contact linguistics.

Symposium at University of Texas at Austin – 23rd and 24th of February 2024: Stephan was invited to the University of Texas at Austin, US, to give a lecture on Bedouin-type Arabic as part of the symposium entitled “Redefining Arabic: New Approaches to the Study of Arabic’s Past and Present”. In his presentation, Stephan explored the question of how useful modern and pre-modern corpora are in answering the question at the centre of our research project: What is Bedouin-type Arabic?

We would like to express our sincere thanks to the organisers for the invitation!

Study Trip to Sharjah – 10th – 20th February 2024: Four members of the team (Antonella, Philipp, Rebecca and Stanley) joined a delegation of students from various Austrian universities for a study trip to the Emirate of Sharja. The study trip was organized by the Hammer-Purgstall Gesellschaft in cooperation with the Arab Language Academy in Sharjah together with the Austro-Arab Chamber of Commerce. On the 12th of February the delegation was received by his highness the Emir Sultan Al-Qasimi. During the trip the team members discussed some questions concerning Bedouin dialects in the Gulf and promoted the research carried out in the project.

Austrian Linguistics Conference (ÖLT) – 7th – 9th December 2023: Scholars from the Institute of Oriental Studies, including representatives of the WIBARAB project, took part in the ÖLT from December 7 to 9, where they presented their research to an international audience of over 300 linguists.

The participants were invited by the City of Graz to a reception in the City Hall, where they were told about the history of the famous City Council Chamber and were able to take in the view of Graz’s main Christmas square from the balcony.

Laurent Romary’s visit to Vienna – 30th November – 1st December 2023: Laurent Romary, research director at INRIA and TEI-expert, has payed us a visit in Vienna for a workshop about corpus digitalization at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. His expertise and passion for the topic inspired the participants and stimulated innovative discussions.
Many thanks!

Maria Ángeles Vicente and Christophe Pereira in Vienna – 23rd – 25th November 2023: It was a great pleasure for us to host two renowned experts in Maghrebi Arabic, Maria Ángeles Vicente from the University of Zaragoza and Christophe Pereira from INALCO. During these days, Maria and Christophe supported us with their expertise and gave us in-depth reflections on our research. We would like to express our sincere thanks for their support.

WIBARAB Lunch – 21th November 2023: At our monthly lunch meeting at the WIBARAB office, we had the pleasure of welcoming two guests: Fabio Gasparini from Freie Universität Berlin and Katharina Tyran from the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Vienna, who both told us about their current projects. Thanks for coming and sharing insights into your research!

5th Arabic Linguistics Forum – 8th – 10th November 2023, York / UK: Ana, Antonella, and Stephan represented the WIBARAB team at the 5th Arabic Linguistics Forum in York. The forum provided an invaluable platform for our scholars to exchange ideas, receive and offer feedback and forge contacts with experts and peers from the field.
Ana’s presentation on the ʕArab il-Maslax in Karantina, Beirut, covered theoretical and methodological considerations for the sociolinguistic analysis of superdiverse speech communities.
Antonella’s talk about the Bani Ṣaxar Dialect in Jordan focussed on patterns of verbal morphological change in Bedouin Arabic dialects.
Lastly, Stephan’s contribution centered on the low vowel insertion rule after gutturals aka gahawa-syndrome, its geographical distribution and diachronic development.

Kristen Brustad & Mahmoud Al-Batal in Vienna, 16th – 19th October 2023 We had the extraordinary honor to welcome two renowned figures in Arabic Studies, Kristen Brustad and Mahmoud Al-Batal, to the Department of Oriental Studies in Vienna These days were marked by their presence and their captivating lectures, which offered a deeper insight into various aspects of Arabic language and linguistics.

Kristen Brustad, an expert in the field of Arabic syntax, wowed students and facutly members with her presentation on syntactic structures in Arabic. Her clear presentation and thorough explanations provided the audience with a rich insight into this complex linguistic topic.

Mahmoud Al-Batal, a renowned pioneer in Arabic didactics, shared his extensive knowledge and innovative approach to teaching the Arabic language. His presentation offered valuable insights and innovative methods that were appreciated by teachers and students alike.

Terlan’s trip to Granada – 1st – 11th November: Terlan visited Prof. Montserrat Benítez Fernández, renowned expert in Moroccan Arabic, at the Escuela de Estudios Árabes, who assisted her in the transcription process.

Terlan’s trip to Paris – 2nd – 9th October: Our collegue Terlan spend one week in Paris and visited Prof. Pereira and Prof. Herin at INALCO where she presented her current findings on the Hilali category in the study of rural dialects of Morocco.

First WIBARAB Symposium – 7th – 9th June 2023, University of Vienna: From 7 to 9 June, the first WIBARAB Symposium titled WIBARAB: New Data and Fresh Perspectives took place on the campus of the University of Vienna. We had the honour to discuss both ongoing work (mainly from the project’s three PhD theses) as well as further steps and methodological and theoretical considerations with our renowned guests who evaluated and commented on our preliminary results that were presented in lectures.

We would like to thank our guests for their constructive contributions and look forward to working with them in the future:

Adam Benkato (University of California, Berkeley)
Maria Ángeles Vicente (University of Zaragoza)
Aziza Al-Essa (King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah)
Bruno Herin (INALCO)
Catherine Taine-Cheikh (LACITO)
Clive Holes (University of Oxford)
Enam Al Wer (University of Essex)
Felipe Benjamin Francisco (Freie Universität Berlin)
Issam Marjani (University of Pisa)
Janet Watson (University of Leeds)
Jonathan Owens (University of Bayreuth)
Munira Al-Azraqi (Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam)
Simone Bettega (University of Turin)
Stefano Manfredi (CNRS)
Fabio Gasparini (University of Turin)

Field work in Sudan – February/March 2023: Master student Stanley went on his first field trip to Sudan to study the dialect of the Rashayda tribe. He was welcomed and hosted by the University of Shendi and had the chance to not only collect precious data about the Rashaydas’ dialect but also to dive into the local culture of Sudan.

Visit of Inas Mahfouz – March 2023: We had the honor of welcoming Prof. Inas Mahfouz from the American University of Kuwait at our department. After enjoying her presentation about the Azmi Dialect in Kuwait, our team presented to her the project and its recent progress. We are happy to announce that Inas Mahfouz will join our team as a local associate in Kuwait!

Field work in Jordan – February 2023: Claudia went on another field trip to the South of Jordan this February. As always in Jordan, she received a very warm welcome and was able to spend an exciting and memorable time with the Bdoul Bedouins. Thanks to their hospitality Claudia was not only able to conduct interviews but also got the chance to accompany them and therefore get deep insights into the community’s daily life.

Visit of the Dean – 30th January 2023: On the 30th of January 2023, the WIBARAB team had the honor of welcoming the dean of the faculty of Philology and Cultural Studies (Universität Wien) Prof. Dr. Stephan Müller in our project room. The team introduced their roles and contributions within the project, and presented to him the WIBARAB Database, with a focus on the current technological advancements that the team has developed during the last year and a half in close cooperation with the ACDH-CH. 

PRAAT Seminar13th – 14th October 2022: Phonology expert Dr. Fabio Gasparini delivers a 2-day seminar for all the members of WIBARAB and other members of the Department of Near Eastern Studies on how to use PRAAT to resolve phonetic problems in the recordings accumulated during fieldwork. Many thanks!

New Members1st October 2022: Master students Stanley Kochem and Philipp Hessabi join the WIBARAB project. Stanley will work on the database and on data collection and Philipp will deal with administrative issues and the maintenance of the website.

Claudia Laaber’s talk at Charles University29th September – 1st October 2022: PhD student Claudia Laaber gives a presentation titled “Theoretical and Methodological Considerations for the Study of “Language Attitudes” by the example of Bedouin Arabic Dialects” at the Linguistics conference hosted by Charles University in Prague.  

Meeting with Dr. Johann Heiss 1st September 2022: Social anthropologist and Arabist Dr. Johann Heiss is invited to the WIBARAB office to deliver a talk on complex tribal structures with a focus on Yemeni bedouins. Dr. Heiss also addresses some problematic questions that the PhD students came up with during the course of their research.

ACDH-CH Tutorials6th July 2022: The ACDH-CH team visits the PhD and Master students and delivers a tutorial on Visual Studio Code, GitHub repositories and TEI.

Introducción a los dialectos beduinos de Jordania5th July 2022: PhD student Antonella Torzullo delivers the lecture Introducción a los dialectos beduinos de Jordania at the University of Malaga. 

AIDA Conference28th – 4th July 2022: The WIBARAB team goes to Granada to participate in the AIDA conference. The following members gave presentations over a period of four days: 

  • Stephan Procházka: How solid is the linguistic basis for the Bedouin-sedentary split used in the classification of Arabic dialects? 
  • Stephan Procházka (with Simone Bettega & Erik Anonby): The Distinctive Singular Demonstratives of Musandam Arabic and the Historical Linguistic Geography of Arabia. 
  • Claudia Laaber & Karlheinz Mörth: Repurposing encyclopaedic data for lexicographic research: the special case of the Egyptian Arabic Wikipedia. 
  • Ana Iriarte Díez: Discursive tools in highly affective communicative contexts: Lebanese Arabic as a case study. 
  • Gisela Kitzler: “Bi-luġit il-ġalāba hanġanni yāḅa!”[1] “Man, we’re gonna sing in the language of the poor people!” Class, language ideology and Egyptian mahraganāt music. 
  • Veronika Engler: Navigating Arabic Varieties: Code Switching, Code Mixing and Hybridity in Omani Radio Programs.
  • Gunda Kinzl: Ramallāwi to the Bones. Local and Global Linguistic Strategies in Palestinian Rap: Haykal as Case Study. 
  • Antonella Torzullo: Recent developments in the phonology and morphology of the Arabic Dialect of the Bani Ṣaxar Tribe. 

Vienna University Campus Activities – 8th-10th June 2022: The Department of Near Eastern Studies organises the 3-day event “Nomads and Sedentary people from Central Asia to Morocco, from the Ancient Near East to the Present” which celebrates nomadic identity and culture. Talks about different aspects of the Bedouin society are given by members of staff and students alike. The WIBARAB team delivers a talk on the challenges and rewards of fieldwork, as well as helps set up an authentic bedouin camp in the middle of the campus.

Levantine Arabic dialects: state of the art and perspectives22nd-23rd May 2022: PhD students Antonella Torzullo, Miriam Al Tawil (University of Vienna), Nina Van Kampen (Inalco/Ifpo) and Natalie Smrekat (Université Grenoble Alpes/Ifpo) organize the conference Levantine Arabic dialects: state of the art and perspectives, sponsored by Ifpo, and held at the University of Jordan (Amman) and at the Yarmouk University (Irbid). Antonella and Miriam give a presentation titled: 

دراسات عن اللهجات البدويىة في محافظتي عمان و المفرق 

Meeting with Laurent Romary20th May 2022: The Director of Scientific Culture and Information and TEI expert Laurent Romary is invited to Vienna to meet up with the WIBARAB members involved in the creation of the database, namely all the members of the ACDH-CH, the PI Stephan Prochazka and post-doc Ana Iriarte Diez accompanied by the master students. He advises the team on how to proceed with the buildup of the database using TEI and how to overcome conceptual and technical obstacles.  

Gunda Kinzl’s talk at GUST Kuwait16th May 2022: The Global Studies center of GUST hosts Gunda Kinzl’s talk about her research, attended by his excellency Mag. Marian Wrba, Austrian ambassador in Kuwait. Dr. David Wilmsen (American University of Sharja) kindly acts as a discussant. 

Talk by Dr. Simone Bettega 26th April 2022: Dr. Simone Bettega from the University of Turin visits the Near Eastern Department at the University of Vienna and delivers a talk titled “Agreement and the city: what the history of gender marking in Arabic can tell us about the nature of urban dialects.”

Gunda Kinzl’s talk in Saudi Arabia6th April 2022: A talk about her fieldwork and preliminary findings is given by Gunda Kinzl for her colleagues at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, who kindly host her as a visiting fellow.

Nuove prospettive sui dialetti beduini della Giordania15th March 2022: PhD student Antonella Torzullo delivers the lecture Nuove prospettive sui dialetti beduini della Giordania at the University of Torino in the framework of the seminar Tra deserti e città: due prospettivi sui dialetti arabi nel 21° secolo.

Initiating FieldworkJanuary 2022 – May 2022: PhD students Antonella Torzullo, Gunda Kinzl, Terlan Djavadova, Claudia Laaber and post-doc. Dr. Ana Iriarte Díez begin their first fieldwork in the framework of the project. They conduct linguistic investigations in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Lebanon. More information on their experiences can be found in the ‘blog’ section of our website.

WIBARAB commences1st October 2021: The project WIBARAB (What is Bedouin-Type Arabic) commences at the University of Vienna. All of the factions involved meet up in person for the first time to make introductions, discuss initial steps and goals and define roles and responsibilities.