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Law to protect Arabic 21, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Gulf.
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Plans are afoot in the Emirates to protect the Arabic language. The perceived loss of ground of Arabic to English stems from several factors.

  • The language of international commerce, trade etc is English. The Gulf’s headfirst dive into the very heart of these worlds in recent years, has therefore, forced Gulf countries to improve their English to the point where it is the language of the vast majority of business.
  • Emiratees are a minority in their own country. The lingua franca for all – Europeans, Arabs, Asians and even Americans – is, therefore, English.
  • Also, because the Emirates need so many foreigners, their systems, companies etc need to accommodate the English language in order for skilled Westerners to do the necessary jobs.
  • English is generally taught better in schools than Arabic. Arabic teaching is taught through rote learning and memorization. English language teaching, however, has advanced and is far more interactive.
  • Countless interviews and conversations in the Gulf tell me that English is fast becoming the language of choice of the younger generation to the severe detriment of Arabic. Access to Western culture and Western travel are two precipitants of this.

Feel free to add to (or argue with) the list…

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Comments»

1. Abstract JK - 21, April 2010

“English is generally taught better in schools than Arabic. Arabic teaching is taught through rote learning and memorization. English language teaching, however, has advanced and is far more interactive.”

This is true. However, it is also necessary to note the perceived differences in quality of education between ‘international schools’ (English/American mostly) and traditional public schools. In fact, many of the pupils in the international schools learn more about American/British history than Middle Eastern/Arab history.

Another important factor stems from the ratio of Arabic instruction/ English instruction in the curriculum. From what I’m told, Gulf students often spend much more class time (double to triple) learning English than Arabic (Fusha). When their only other aural exposure to Arabic (as opposed to amiyya) is from the Al-Jazeera background noise at home and the Friday Sermon, the death of Arabic is not surprising.

Just ask any Gulfie shab what his favorite TV show is. I’m willing to bet 3 Kuwaiti dinars that Prison Break beats Qaradawi’s ‘Shariah and Life’ by a comfortable margin…

If anybody is interested in this topic, Al Jazeera’s Bilaa Haduud hosts Bahraini intellectual Ali Fakhro in a fascinating examination of foreign workers/influence in the Khaleej. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tdeSoASuLw

davidbroberts - 21, April 2010

Nice stuff. Thanks.


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