This project, led by Szymon Malinka, Anurag Aryal, and Antony Gu, is a multimodal exploration of the linguistic interplay between English and Arabic within the Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMUQ) community.
We aim to examine and demonstrate how English and Arabic coexist within the CMUQ community, focusing on the preservation of Arabic linguistic identity amidst the influence of English. This project seeks to spark conversations about language identity and cultural preservation.
Our research investigates the impact of English on local identity and the hybridization of languages in Qatar, particularly among native Arabic speakers at CMUQ.
Data is collected through interviews and surveys, capturing quotations from native Arabic speakers about their experiences with language hybridization.
The centerpiece of our project is a poster that visually represents the interplay between English and Arabic. It will be displayed across CMUQ campus dashboards, showcasing quotes and thematic elements that reflect our research findings.
"English affects my linguistic identity as people make the assumption that I have lost touch with my culture and values just for speaking English. Some Arabs also assume that you think you are better or smarter than them for speaking English. Speaking English doesn’t have an effect on how I view my own identity but rather on how others view mine."
"It is being used in education so a lot of physics and mathematical concepts I can only explain in English, and I don’t know it in Arabic."
"Yes, English is affecting my Arab identity as I tend to use English more than Arabic, leading to me not being able to have long conversations fully in Arabic."
"Yes, it does as I frequently forget some of the words in Arabic and I would have to use the corresponding English word instead." - Hana
"English doesn’t impact my Arabic linguistic identity because I am a man of honor and Arabic is my honor. So, as a man of honor I will not accept anything to impact my culture." - Yaman
"No, I speak Arabic at home; English is just a tool for university." - Mohammed Shikfa
"Sometimes I feel like I am losing my identity, and I am becoming more westernized. Arabic is a huge part of my identity and I feel like English is slowly taking over Arabic because it is more widely used." - Jannah Abd El Aliem
"It doesn’t affect my identity as I only speak English when I need to." - Lajeen Hasna
"Because most of my education is mostly in English, I feel that there is an imbalance between using English and Arabic. My word bank for English is larger. I still favor Arabic though."
This study aims to shed light on the linguistic dynamics at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMUQ), focusing on the perspectives of native Arabic speakers regarding the interplay between English and Arabic languages. Drawing inspiration from Hopkyns (2016) and guided by the pragmatic framework proposed by Blommaert and Varis (2015), our research explores whether a harmonic coexistence of English and Arabic is feasible, particularly in academic settings where English assumes prominence.
Our central research question revolves around the concern of whether English is replacing Arabic at CMUQ. Through a qualitative approach, we collected firsthand quotations from a predominantly Arabic-speaking sample within the CMUQ community. Additionally, to ensure a diverse range of opinions, we included perspectives from non-Arabic speakers through video interviews.
The findings of our study overwhelmingly support the notion that a harmonic coexistence of English and Arabic is not only possible but actively embraced by Arabic speakers at CMUQ. The quotations predominantly underscore the strategic use of English in academic settings, emphasizing its leverage for educational pursuits, career growth, and its role as a lingua franca.
Our research participants consistently expressed that English serves as a facilitator for education and career advancement, recognizing its global significance. Simultaneously, Arabic is consciously preserved and utilized in intimate, familial, and social interactions, reinforcing the participants' sense of cultural identity. The narratives collected affirm that the nuanced balance between English and Arabic enhances rather than erodes the participants' Arabic linguistic identity.
While our findings acknowledge a subtle influence of English, particularly in academic contexts, the overwhelming sentiment is that English is not replacing Arabic but coexisting harmoniously. The inclusion of perspectives from non-Arabic speakers in our video interviews provides a multifaceted understanding of linguistic dynamics at CMUQ.
In conclusion, our study contributes empirical evidence to support the notion that a harmonic coexistence of English and Arabic is feasible, affirming the viability of the framework proposed by Blommaert and Varis (2015). The nuanced linguistic landscape at CMUQ showcases that, while there is a discernible influence, English is not replacing Arabic but rather complementing it within the educational and professional spheres. This research advocates for a more inclusive understanding of linguistic identity in multicultural academic environments, providing valuable insights for educational institutions and policymakers.
- Hopkyns, S. (2016). Emirati Cultural Identity in the Age of 'Englishization': Voices from an Abu Dhabi University.
- Blommaert, J., & Varis, P. (2015). Enoughness, accent and light communities: Essays on contemporary identities. (Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies; No. 139).