2006-03-08 00:00:00 : Jordan > Society
“The ‘Arablish’ language spreading amongst the Jordanian elite’
In its March 8 edition, Al Quds Al Arabi, an independent newspaper reported that: “The use of English instead of Arabic amongst the students of the elite schools and colleges in Jordan, has become the primary concern of linguists and pedagogical observers. The weakness of the Arabic language has become a noticeable and widely spread phenomenon among the Jordanian youth in all sectors.

“This becomes even more evident when one interviews a young man that received his school or college education in English. It is rare that the young Jordanian finishes the discussion without encountering some trouble in expressing himself, which leads him most of the time, to include some English words in the conversation. Due to the spread of this pattern of expression, particularly in the western regions of Amman, some Jordanian young men have called it the ‘Arablish’ [in the article it is called the ‘Arabizi’ i.e. Arabic and Inglizi (English)]…

“Jordanian professor of pedagogical psychology, Dr. Yussef Al Katami, said that the deterioration of the ability to express oneself, has become a palpable problem to some students, especially since the Arab culture is a non-emphatic culture. This new language has exceeded the simple alternation between Arabic and English, as a trend that the young Ammanis, that are influenced by Western culture, have adopted. It has become a way of expression that supports the Arabic language, which is raising the discontent of the linguists.

“The head of the Princess Sumayya University of Science and Technology in Jordan, Dr. Hisham Ghasib, called for reconsidering the paternal oppressive regime that the students in our society are enduring, whether in school, college or within their families. Ghasib said that when the student doesn’t get the chance to express himself, his ‘self’ will remain undeveloped and deficient, for he will be faced with political, religious, societal and tribal obstacles.

“Al Katami said that the formation of the ‘self’ of Arab children continues to be a random process. He stated that language is one of the most important elements of self expression, and that, since children and teenagers would rather express themselves in a foreign language, then they admire the culture that is presented to them through this foreign language and its cultural moulds that differ from the way their Arabic teacher teaches them his course... He also added that many resort to express themselves in English because of the important role played by technology in promoting the English language.

“The aforementioned ‘Arablish’ is widely-spread amongst the young generation of the rich social class especially, whereby Arabic words are often mixed with English words in a spontaneous and unintentional way, most of the time. Linguist Salameh Al Zaban, said that this phenomenon is due to Western movies and [TV] series culture, that the young generation thinks are broadening their knowledge. This will lead eventually to the deterioration of the ability of the young generation to express itself in Arabic…

“According to Ghasib, the West relies on the abundance of cinematic production that is void of any content and superior on the outside. He said that not unlike Western productions, Arabic productions are also a failure content-wise…He stressed that Western culture has taken over the Arab world, has become present in every corner of society and that speaking in English, in many sectors, has become a way to brag and show off.” - Al-Quds al-Arabi, United Kingdom
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