I am an Arabic teacher, linguist, and basically nerd for all things Arabic. I am interested in Tunisian Arabic, Arabic pedagogy, Arabic linguistics, and literary translation.
Dissertation Focus: Tunisian Arabic as written language
Thesis Topic: “Fī (‘in’) as a marker of the progressive aspect in Tunisian Arabic: A cognitive and historic approach.”
Performed semantic annotations for Arabic NLP training data as well as creating guidelines, managing remote team, and reviewing annotations for accuracy.
Created Arabic curriculum for web-based language and cultural training for military foreign area officers. Project involves researching and collecting level-appropriate authentic materials, creating exercises (listening, reading, practical and supplemental), and creating assessments.
Inaugurated office and built program to support military-affiliated students on campus. Also served as a first-year and sophomore academic advisor, a member of the Diversity Advisory Board, a member of the Health Careers Advisory Committee, and a First Readings seminar leader.
Responsible for reviewing and translating entries for the CJK Arabic Learners’ Dictionary. Ensured accuracy of English translations and appropriateness of Arabic examples. Also ensured that sense division, headword selection, organization of entries, and typography follow set guidelines.
Reviewed entries for the Oxford Arabic Dictionary (2014) including verifying the accuracy and naturalness of English translations of Arabic headwords and examples, as well as utilizing the billion-word Oxford Arabic corpus to expand entries and discover new word senses that were previously not reflected in existing monolingual or bilingual Arabic dictionaries. Also prepared resource materials for the team and trained other reviewers.
Translated foreign intelligence materials using Standard Arabic, Syrian, Iraqi and Libyan.
Translated foreign intelligence; trained and mentored 25 Arabic linguists; provided quality control.
Social and technological changes over the past several decades have led to widespread writing of “spoken” Arabic dialects. In Tunisia, vernacular writing has flourished since the 2011 revolution: although the first novel written entirely in Tunisian “dɛ̄rja” did not appear until 2013, there are now nine of them, in addition to several translations, memoirs, and children’s books. This flourishing print literature is just one part of expansion of vernacular Tunisian into domains previously reserved for Standard Arabic, such as advertisements, radio stations, classrooms, the mosque, and even in government. Encoding a language variety like Tunisian Arabic in writing is not straightforward and mechanical, but rather a complex process that balances practical considerations with ideological stances such as autonomy from the standard language. While the linguistic properties of written vernacular have been studied for some other Arabic varieties like Egyptian and Moroccan, written Tunisian Arabic has not yet been described. Using a quantitative analysis of nine print novels (2013–2021) and a 32-million-word corpus of internet forum posts (2010–2021), this dissertation documents the expansion of Tunisian Arabic in writing and explores how Tunisians writing in dɛ̄rja make orthographic choices to collectively position themselves in relation to Standard Arabic, French, and the other Arabic vernaculars. In addition, it examines the patterns of spelling variability between authors and genres and evaluates the extent to which Tunisian Arabic is (and is not) showing signs of orthographic conventionalization. Through this analysis, this study provides a valuable window into the process of vernacularization in the Arab world.
Created the first large-scale corpus of Tunisian Arabic, available free to the public at tunisiya.org. Corpus contains materials from a wide variety of genres, including folktales, talk radio, blogs, and screenplays, and is accessible through a custom-built search and concordancing tool. This corpus has been of value to scholars all over the world, including the book Arabic Indefinites, Interrogatives, and Negators by David Wilmsen of the American University of Beirut. The ultimate goal of the corpus is to provide data for reference materials for Tunisian Arabic (and North African Arabic more broadly), most critically a bilingual Tunisian-English dictionary and basic coursebook for Tunisian Arabic.