By: Salma Alam El Din
Abla Ahmed, sports guru and Rhythmic Gymnastics Coach, Egyptian living in Dubai , has turned the social media upside down when she started her IGTV with standard Arabic slogan saying “As3ad Allah masa2akom”.
Abla finally spoke up and discussed such a sensitive issue, the decline of the Arabic language. She later continued by acknowledging how people would make fun of it. However, it caught our attention and we decided to talk about how important this topic is.
Have you ever paused to think how a word you say in English can be translated to Arabic, but can’t get the word to your mind. Unfortunately, this is the state we have reached. We have reached to a point where we can’t speak a complete sentence in Arabic dialect itself to speak it in Standard Arabic, we think in English and therefore just spit out what comes to our mind in English too. A proof, is that Abla herself, although she is discussing such topic, kept repeating the word “trend” instead of using its Arabic translation as that is how the word came to her mind.
I believe that there are three main reasons behind the decline of the Arabic Language. First, the preference of using colloquial Arabic(dialects). Another reason is the redefinition of the ‘trend’ as Abla discussed in her video. Last but not least, the lingua franca, English.
Whether one acknowledges such fact or not, dialects are easier and more used in the Arab world. As a proof we have reached a point where presidents in their formal speeches speak colloquial Arabic instead of standard Arabic. For example, presidents like Gamal Abdel Nasser found out that talking using dialects made their message reach a bigger audience, and thus have a higher effect on people.
What is this decade ‘trend’ you ask? Let me summarize it. First let the medium of communication between family, friends, and strangers English as this defines our hierarchy in society. Then let’s enroll our children in International schools, and enroll them in abroad undergraduate programs, where the mother language and moderate of communication is English. Unfortunately, parents don’t just do that for educational purposes but to show off the wealth their bank account holds.
Finally, the lingua franca, the English language. We have reached a point where any international exchange, whether in business or legal documents should be produced in English. “In today’s world, which is driven by globalization, technology, and the rapid exchange of goods, services, and ideas, one language stands out: English” (Al-Issa and Dahan, 2011, p.2).
Finally, I end this with an important question. Has the effect of the decline in Arabic language affected the Arabic culture and tradition within us? Let me know what you think down in the comments!