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Emirati dialect in decline among students but English is up

 
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:58 pm    Post subject: Emirati dialect in decline among students but English is up Reply with quote

Emirati dialect faces threat of decline
By Melanie Swan, The National | April 20, 2014
Source: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/heritage/emirati-dialect-faces-threat-of-decline

DUBAI---The Emirati dialect is in decline, say experts, as more residents are increasingly speaking better English than their native Arabic.

While the emphasis in recent years has been on teaching Arabic-speaking Emiratis to master English, the balance, at least in Dubai, has now swung the other way. Joanne Seymour, an academic based in Dubai, is studying for her PhD from the University of Bath on Emiratis studying Fusha in the classroom. Ms Seymour, who speaks fluent Arabic, began her research after hearing about the home life of expatriate Arabs and Emiratis, particularly how their parents who would speak to them only in English in an attempt to give their children a “head start” with the language. “Of those who had been through private education, some went to university abroad and others felt they wanted to give their children a better head start than they had with English being such a prevalent language here.

“People began asking me to help with their Arabic and I saw a family where the parents spoke to the children in English while the Filipino nanny spoke to them in Arabic.” The phenomena is something fairly unique to Dubai, said Ms Seymour, where last year almost 31,000 Emirati students were enrolled in private schools. That figure is about 55 to 60 per cent of all Emirati pupils in the emirate. “You don’t see this in countries like Egypt or Qatar, or even in other emirates as much,” said Ms Seymour, adding she believed it was the responsibility of the community to bring about change. “We can’t rely just on schools to teach Arabic, it must be the responsibility of parents, teachers, the media and advertisers. I hate to see signs or adverts not in Arabic or with no Arabic translation. We’re not changing Facebook or Twitter, but there needs to be Arabic equivalents of Harry Potter, not just literature that is translated.” The problem also stemmed from early years education that in the majority is provided in English. “This is where the home is so important,” said Ms Seymour.

To address the issue, Hanan Al Fardan established the Al Ramsa Institute in the Dubai Chamber of Commerce to teach the Emirati dialect. She had been overwhelmed by the amount of interest from locals. “They come to me because they feel shame. Maybe one of their parents is non-Emirati or maybe they studied in private education but they don’t know their own dialect,” said Ms Al Fardan, who is Emirati.
The typical client was in their 20s and employed in a job where they needed to be bilingual, such as a government department where they needed to display their Emirati roots through a grasp of the local language. “I would like to see more Emirati teachers,” said Ms Al Fardan. “They don’t realise there is a demand for Emirati dialect. It’s becoming a dying language and the kids are speaking English because of the schools and media here. Sometimes they express themselves better in English.”

Shaikha Al Attas, who lives in Abu Dhabi, overcame this challenge with her two sons, aged 12 and 9, by insisting they attend government schools. “I want them to interact with other Arabic-speaking students. It supports the language more than other schools and friends influence them.” When her children are at home, Ms Al Attas, who was raised in Indonesia and married an Emirati, insists they converse with their father in Arabic. “Now they are bilingual but it has been a challenge,” she said.

(End of article)
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rdobbs98



Joined: 08 Oct 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is bunch of bull, the English is horrible within the local community and they constantly use Arabic, not English. This is the entire problem here, the crutch of Arabic hurts the development of English.

When you have 4 or 5 classes a day in Arabic and maybe 2 or 3 only in English, its no wonder the skills aren't developed. Just look at the Cambridge results. Even the PYP program lingers on because as The National pointed out, the local population's English skills aren't being developed.

http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/almost-9-in-10-students-not-ready-for-university-in-english
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nomad soul



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

However, this particular article addresses the lack of Arabic proficiency based on Emiratis who attend private not government schools; they learn English at an earlier age and from native speakers. I doubt you'd see many of these students in English foundation year programs in UAE's federal universities.
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nomad soul



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a related note...

Why Emiratis pick private schools
By Noor Nazzal, Gulf News | 27 April 2014
Source: http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/education/why-emiratis-pick-private-schools-1.1324786

Dubai: The quality of education and better English language skills draw Emiratis to private schools, but they admit that this comes at the cost of losing touch with their culture.

A Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) study titled ‘In search of a good education’, highlights the reasons why 50 per cent of Emirati parents surveyed prefer private education despite public schools in the UAE offering free education to Emiratis. Of the Emirati parents surveyed, 22 per cent believed that private schools offer better English language instruction.

Asma Al Qaseer, an Emirati, who studied in a private school in Sharjah from kindergarten to grade 12, agreed with the survey’s findings. “My parents believed that a private school would provide me with a better education in a sense that I would be able to speak English fluently and be able to enter a university of my choice,” she said. Asma’s parents went to public schools and she said they were barely able to converse in English, which is why they wanted to provide her with what they didn’t have.

In Dubai, there are more Emiratis enrolled in private rather than public schools. Another KHDA report published earlier this month found that almost 60 per cent of Emiratis (30,994 students) are enrolled in private schools in Dubai.

Asma believes that the private school she attended provided her with stronger bilingual skills and an understanding of world cultures. She admitted, however, that she lost the advantages she would have had in a public school. “A public school’s strengths include stronger Arabic skills and a better understanding of the UAE culture because public schools celebrate National Day and other Emirati events.” Nevertheless, Asma said that when she has children, she will enrol them in private schools to make sure they get a good education in English.

Ahmad Bin Al Shaikh, another Emirati, said studying in a private school allows him to be exposed to a wide range of cultures and a mixed-gender environment, which made him open-minded. Al Shaikh believes that the only advantage of attending a public school is that education is free. Public schools usually provide low-quality education, lack of multiculturalism and one way of thinking, he said. “Private schools provide great education, multiculturalism, critical thinking,” he added. Al Shaikh, however, admitted that the price Emiratis pay is losing touch with their own culture and blending with other cultures that sometimes do not adhere to Emirati social and cultural norms.

Sara Al Ali, another Emirati who graduated from a private school, said her education allowed her to graduate from university with ease. “I graduated from a private school and now my son is enrolled in one as well. I believe it provides a great education. The only thing is that my son is using words and accents from other Arab culture instead of his own.”

Sara fears that her son is moving away from her culture, but her husband makes sure he takes him to Emirati social gatherings.

(End of article)
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