A three-day, government sponsored symposium held in Saudi Arabia has concluded that the Arabic language needs protection from the onslaught of other languages. The language of the Quran is in danger of being diluted, if not lost, some participants hold.

According to this Saudi Gazette report, participants suggest that foreign workers be required to have competence in Arabic before being granted work visas. The level of Arabic required would vary according to the positions being held, though no specifics are given.

‘Make fluency in Arabic a condition for foreign workers’
Saeed Al-Khotani | Saudi Gazette

RIYADH — Two distinguished Gulf academics warned on Wednesday against the danger non-Arab speaking labor poses to the Arabic language and culture in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

They called for gradually making fluency in the language a requirement for any non-Arab labor wanting to work in these countries.

The call came in their research papers presented in a session on the influence of non-Arab labor on Arabic at the Coordinative Symposium of Universities and Institutions Concerned with Arabic Language in GCC Countries, which concluded on Thursday at the Riyadh InterContinental.

One of the academics, Latifa Al-Najjar, professor at the United Arab Emirates University, said the presence of non-Arab speaking labor in the GCC countries contributed, along with the use of colloquial Arabic in audio and video media, to the creation of a distorted Arabic language, negatively affecting the process of acquiring knowledge of standard Arabic.

May:10:2013 - 06:04 | Comments & Trackbacks (5) | Permalink
5 Responses to ““Protect Arabic””
  1. 1
    Preserving Arabic in the GCC – is legislation the answer? | 59steps Pinged With:
    May:10:2013 - 09:32 

    [...] the influence of non-Arabic speakers on the Arabic language in the Gulf countries (thanks go to Crossroads Arabia for putting me on to this [...]

  2. 2
    Jerry M Said:
    May:10:2013 - 09:35 

    This is both a good idea and a foolish one. It would be wonderful if all the workers spoke the local language well. Thinking that is going to stop the evolution of Arabic is foolish.

    Arabic has a bigger problem than some languages because it isn’t a language of world commerce or technology, so lots of new words come into Arabic from other languages. The situation is a bit like English after the Norman conquest, when large amounts of Old French vocabulary entered the English language. Perhaps they can create a committee to make up new Arabic words for all the English but that isn’t going to stop the changes.

  3. 3
    John Burgess Said:
    May:10:2013 - 10:38 

    @Jerry M: There are committees organized to do just that. The problem is that people use what they use, not what some committee thinks they should use. Trying to nail language down in one time or place is futile.

  4. 4
    Persuasion, Not Laws, Needed to Encourage Spoken Arabic | MEP, Middle East Perspectives from Dubai to Rabat Pinged With:
    May:11:2013 - 00:51 

    [...] the influence of non-Arabic speakers on the Arabic language in the Gulf countries (thanks go to Crossroads Arabia for putting me on to this [...]

  5. 5
    Chris Said:
    May:11:2013 - 03:59 

    The Arabic of the Koran could become a language fixed in Amber, with approved committees to add new words to express modern ideas or not, just as Latin is the language of the Catholic church; even though most catholics don’t speak it.

    The Arabic of the people could go its own ways in the various countries. Trying to force a language to stay fixed, unleess it is a dead language, doesn’t work; ask the French how well their attempts to do so are working.

    Most muslims don’t speak Arabic, even in the countries where it is the official language many people speak the original tongues of those lands.

    As for requiring fluency of foreign workers, good luck with that as a pre-requisite. Science and Engineering are mostly done using English as the common tongue and I don’t see that changing soon.

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