Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

The Political Hero Figure in Egyptian Songs: A Linguistic Reading - with Particular Reference to Jamal Abdel Nasser

Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

The Political Hero Figure in Egyptian Songs: A Linguistic Reading - with Particular Reference to Jamal Abdel Nasser

Article excerpt

Abstract

The present paper deals with the political hero figure in Egyptian songs from a linguistic perspective. The researcher attempts to cast light on some linguistic features, including even few grammatical ones, which mark the treatment of the political hero figure in Egyptian songs with particular reference to Jamal Abdel Nasser as a case in point. The researcher, thus, adopts an analytical approach and tries to make use of linguistic techniques offered by discourse analysis. The basic hypothesis of the research is that one can learn a lot about political trends, inclinations and developments through even grammatical features that are hardly confined to mere structure and morphological relations. The claim is that through the investigation of such features, it is possible to trace the historical development of such figure across different periods of time that may reflect the political ups and downs in Nasser's life as well as help gain a better understanding of the possible causes and consequences of the rise and fall of Nasser's national project.

Key words: Political heroes; Songs; Idealization; Nasserism; Jamal Abdel Nasser; Grammatical features and their semantic indication; Discourse analysis

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INTRODUCTION

Topic & Significance of the Research

The relationship between music and songs on the one hand and politics and politicians on the other hand can hardly be undermined. Music is both a weapon in the hands of political rulers to enhance their popularity among their subjects and spread their ideological beliefs, and an effective means of protest as well in the hands of opposition leaders and movements on the other hand. Egypt is certainly no exception and the Egyptian revolution of July 1952 was another instance in which music and songs played quite a significant role in supporting the new regime with its radical and revolutionary ideas amongst the Egyptians, particularly during the fifties and early sixties of the twentieth century. The most popular singers in Egypt during the second half of the twentieth century were Umm Kulthum (1898-1975), Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab (1901-91), and Abd al-Halim Hafiz (1929-77) (Podeh, Elie and Winckler, Onn, 2004, p.325). Their songs, especially Abdel Halim's, may present us with an unintentional yet a fair historical record of the ups and downs of the July revolution and its leader Jamal Abdel Nasser. The present paper deals with the political hero figure image in Egyptian songs with a particular reference to Nasser from a basically discoursal and linguistic perspective.

Objectives of the Research

The research deals with some linguistic and/or grammatical features that manifest themselves in the treatment of the political hero figure in a representative sample of Egyptian songs with particular reference to Jamal Abdel Nasser as a case in point. The researcher even aspires to use these features in casting light on the historical development of such a national figure across different periods of time that may reflect the political ups and downs in Nasser's life as well as help to gain a better understand ing of the possible causes and consequences of the rise and fall of Nasser's national project.

Method of the Research

The researcher adopts an analytical approach and tries to make use of linguistic techniques offered by discourse analysis. Original Arabic lyrics, texts and lines of poetry are available in appendixes while all translations have been made by the researcher.

Hypothesis of the Research

The basic hypothesis of the research is that we can learn a good deal about the political history of a given nation through tracing exploring the Discoursal feature of the political hero figure in its songs, even within those linguistic features that may seem to be merely confined to syntactic and morphological relations, such as an agent versus a direct object or the use of an adjective rather than a noun and vise versa. …

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