Sunday, June 3, 2012

English ... English ... English ... The End of Arabic Language



English ... English ... English ... The End of Arabic Language
What is the fate of Arabic language? Is it going to survive the sweeping forces of English language?
The Arabic language is in real danger of extinction as a result of the spread, popularity, prestige, and domination of English as a result of Globalization! As one experiences in many parts of the world, English is becoming more popular among youth and new generations.
Arabish (Arabizy!)
A new language is becoming popular among the youth and new generations of Aarb nationals. They use English letters to write Arabic words. For those Arabic letters that don't exist in the English alphabet, they replace it with numbers like 3, 7 and 6. They found it easier to write using computer and phone keyboards, fashionable among friends and colleagues, and more interesting to use.
This is the "Digital Generation" that grew up amid digital games, mobile phones, computers, internet, 100's of TV stations from all over the world and finally they find E-learning in English in school and universities. It is ironic that adults express their concern regarding the decline of Arabic language and the lack of communication skills in Arabic of young generations, while they are using English languages in their conversation! The establishment of many new prestigious, private universities attract young generation as they grant them international degrees that allow them to compete in the international market. Governmental universities, especially in the Gulf countries, are  seeking international accreditation of their programs and universities. This leads to more "compliance" with use of english language for communication and teaching. An interesting blog discusses this issue. It can be found on: http://www.sirialibano.com/?p=707#more-707 where the picture is coming from.
In their book, "The English is coming! : how one language is sweeping the world",  Published by Touchstone Book, 2010, Leslie Dunton-Downer, Mary F Rhinelander and Kris Goodfellow, "how it (English)  is propelling humankind to a future that we can, for the first time, talk about and shape in a language that now belongs to all of us: Global English."
Local dialects in Arab countries are not considered "Arabic language." They are viewed as "only" spoken dialect but not really a language. So, children communicate with their family, friends and the rest of the society using the local dialect but they have to learn "formal" Arabic language in school along with English, French or other foreign languages.  Formal Arabic is considered by children as "a language" different that what they understand and speak in their everyday life.
A very important article was researched by George Weber in the early 1990s and written up in 1995. The title of the article is "The World's 10 most influential Languages." It can be found on the following link: http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/reprints/weber/rep-weber.htm
It shows that while English is not the most spoken language, yet it is the most influential and "whatever the historical factors that have pushed English into the top position, they are still at work and look like continuing."
The article presents several surveys of languages and their uses around the world and analyzes their growth and influence on human culture. The figure to the left represents the "Rise and fall of major languages: the historical dimension."
It is a must read article.
Will the "formal" Arabic language become a "sacred" language used only for religious purposes; preaching and reading Qran but not really understood by "Arabs"!  Is it the end of Arabic language?