School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Ourooba Shetewi

Ourooba Shetewi

Doctoral Student in Linguistics



  • Prof Karen Corrigan
  • Dr Ghada Khattab


The Role of Age and Gender in Linguistics Choices in a Dialect Contact Situation: the Case of Palestinian Refugee Children and Adolescents in a Rural Community in Syria

This project studies the role of age and gender in the linguistic choices of rural children and adolescents in a dialect contact situation. It examines their use of a number of socially-conditioned phonological variables in relation to linguistic prestige and accommodation.

The study was conducted in a Palestinian refugee town near the Syrian capital, Damascus. The local dialect in the community is a Bedouin variety with low prestige in contact with the prestigious, urban dialect of Damascus-the national standard in Syria.

The study aims to establish the age at which children become aware of the sociolinguistic pattering of the above variables and examines the effect of that awareness on their linguistic behaviour and use of these variables. It investigates whether participants accommodate their speech to the different fieldworkers and tests their patterns of accommodation in relation to age and gender. Gender differences between participants are also examined to establish the age at which they may emerge.

Research Interests

Dialect attitudes and linguistic prestige primarily in relation to Arabic dialects; phonological variation in Arabic dialects, primarily in relation to linguistic accommodation and prestige; acquisition of phonological variation in situations of dialect contact; the role of gender in phonological variation and sociolinguistic awareness.

Research Activities


  • Language Variation and Change


  • Teacher assistant in phonetics and phonology at Al-Baath University, Syria (2009)
  • Lecturer of English for Specific Purposes at Al-Baath University, Syria (2009)


  • Shetewi, O. November 2015. 'Finding your Way in a Linguistic Maze: The Role of Age and Gender in the Linguistic Choices of Children.' 2nd UCL Graduate Conference in Linguistics, University College London, London, UK
  • Shetewi, O. November 2015. 'The Role of Age and Gender in the Pronunciation of Phonological Variables.' Manchester Forum in Linguistic (Mfil 2015), Manchester University, Manchester, UK
  • Shetewi, O. April 2014. 'The Role of Social Factors in Linguistic Choices: Palestinian Refugee Children in Syria.' 9th Newcastle Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK'
  • (Assistant) 8th Newcastle Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics, 2013

Academic Background

  • MA in Linguistics & Language Acquisition, Newcastle University
  • BA in English language and Literature, Damascus University
  • BA in English Literature w/minor in Religious Studies, Montana State University