Talk – 'Arabic Language Planning in Egypt: An Interdisciplinary Approach'

Friday, April 14, 2017 - 3:00pm

Mahmoud Azaz, assistant professor, Middle Eastern and North African Studies, UA; Mary Carol Combs, associate professor, Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies, UA; and Olga Bever, Social and Behavioral Science, UA.

According to some policymakers and intellectuals in the Arab world, sweeping globalization processes have created "an alarming" linguistic situation in which the status of Standard Arabic (SA) is seriously dwindling. "Englishization" and "dialectization" have substantially penetrated the economic, political, and cultural domains, and thus has created "a serious crisis" that is shaking the status and functions of SA, the marker of the Arab identity. Egypt, a leading country in the region, developed a number of language promotion initiatives to face an alarming situation. However, these were deemed unsuccessful due to the lack of clear vision and effective implementation strategies. In this talk, the presenters critically evaluate the existing promotion policies of SA in Egypt and the interconnections among status planning, corpus planning and acquisition planning. They present preliminary results of an extensive survey that was conducted with Egyptian teachers of Arabic, Arabic linguists and intellectuals, and policy makers. In addition, they examine a sample of an existent SA curriculum to examine the integration of SA global functions. This research project is expected to develop an (alternative) interdisciplinary language-planning model for Standard Arabic in Egypt. This model rests on (1) the interconnections among status planning, corpus planning, and acquisition planning; (2) the development and maintenance of practical implementation mechanism and (3) the role of SA language education.

This research project is currently supported by a Confluencenter Faculty Collaboration Grant from the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry at the University of Arizona.

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