I saw a link to this article on twitter and thought I’d paste it here and share it with my readers. It discusses the topic of Arabizi (see the page a taste of Arabizi to get an idea of what it is) and how it has become so popular now that there are fears it could destroy the Arabic language in the future. I have pasted it aas usual and there are no changes made to it. I have put some brief comments about it at the bottom, further discussion can be found in earlier posts.
By RENAD GHANEM | ARAB NEWS
Published: Apr 19, 2011 22:25 Updated: Apr 19, 2011 22:25
JEDDAH: Arabizi, a term that describes a system of writing Arabic in English, is now more popular than ever, especially online.
Parents and teachers are becoming more concerned over the popularity of this new trend. Some see it as a threat to the Arabic language.
A non-English speaker does not need to speak the language to communicate with others in Arabizi. Numbers are also mixed in Arabizi to represent some letters in Arabic, such as 2, 5, 6, 7 and 9.
Most Arab Internet users find this way easier than typing in Arabic. Teachers fear that this will weaken their Arabic language ability or even replace the language in the future. Arabic professional professors from the Arab world consider it a war against the Arabic language to make it disappear in the long run.
Miral Dibawy, a 21-year-old university graduate, is using Arabizi because she finds it easier when typing on the Internet and sending text messages. She also admitted that it has weakened her Arabic language ability when it comes to writing.
“I was so addicted to this language when chatting and sending texts to my friends. When it came to my research paper, I was finding it hard to write in Arabic. I had to write it in Arabizi first and then translated it into Arabic,” said Miral.
She confirmed that she tried many times to write in Arabic or English, but she found it was very difficult because she had become dependent on Arabizi.
“When I start writing in Arabic, I found myself committing many mistakes and typos and sometimes had difficulty finding the words I wanted to express my thoughts.” She said that some writers used Arabizi when writing books and Internet blogs.
Dina Jamal, university student, agreed that Arabizi weakens the Arabic language and said she only uses Arabic or English when communicating online.
“I do not care if Arabizi is modern or elegant, all I care about is protecting my mother language,” she said.
She added that it is sad that people ignore Arabic, the best language to express feelings, and use Arabizi instead. She said that it is better to use it sparingly and only online and not make it a language that in the future could replace Arabic.
Ali Nasser is a private company employee who does not think there is a problem using Arabizi. He said that Arabizi is a valid mode of communication inside the company and used when emailing other co-workers.
“For me, it is difficult to express myself in Arabic. I cannot write slang in Arabic because it is difficult, while in Arabizi I can. I do not see any evidence that Arabizi weakens my Arabic. The same could be said about weakening the English language but it is not true. I think people are oversensitive about this issue.”
Taiba Al-Amoudi, a private middle school Arabic teacher, claimed that Arabizi was negatively affecting her students’ command of the language.
“The student started creating words from Arabizi and using it in their daily conversation and this is negatively affect their Arabic language knowledge,” said Al-Amoudi
Hossam Gouda, an Arabic language teacher at a private school in Jeddah, believes that Arabic speakers must use Arabic only, the same rule applying to other languages.
Gouda said that there had been a noticeable decline in the performance of students when it comes to Arabic.
“Using Arabizi has a negative effect on the Arabic language,” he said.
He confirmed that Arabic speakers must protect the language and make it stronger.
“What’s happening is that Arabic speakers are weakening the language by using Arabizi, and destroying it in the process,” he said.
Gouda added that it’s better to use Arabic online for as long as possible to prevent it from disappearing in the long run.
It seems that Arabizi affects the proficiency of Arabic language in its speakers, interesting to see the views of those for and against this trend. It is not something new but I think many people now are waking up to the fact that there might be a possibility that Arabs will lose their language how unfortunate if that happens! There might be the situation where non-native Arabic speakers will speak and understand Arabic better than the so-called native Arabic speakers. This was an issue I recently wrote about in a book chapter to be published soon, what is the future of the Arabic language among it’s native speakers?