Factors contributing to the survival of standard Arabic in the arab world: An exploratory study

R. Al-Mahrooqi*, C. J. Denman, T. Sultana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In recent years, a number of scholars have raised concerns about the possible negative consequences of globalisation including the threat posed by its spread and the subsequent spread of English to native languages (Eckert et al., 2004; Mufwene, 2005). Within the Arab world this has been an increasing matter of concern since at least the post-2001 era, with the place of English in Arab societies a cause of popular and academic concern (Karmani, 2005; Azuri, 2006). Debate over threats to Standard Arabic however, are also informed by a number of additional factors including the language's diglossic nature and the deteriorating quality of Arabic education in schools. This paper explores the factors that both support and challenge the continued survival of Standard Arabic in the region. In order to examine this in an exploratory manner, 35 teacher and student native speakers of Arabic at Oman's only public university were administered a four-question questionnaire while 50 participants maintained a reflective journal. Results indicate that participants rarely used Standard Arabic in their daily lives although they believed the language would continue to survive in the foreseeable future. Potential challenges to Standard Arabic's survival were identified as including the increasing pace of globalisation and English's importance in both the international context and in Arab societies, while factors supporting its survival were mostly associated with Arabic's strong associations with Islam and Arab heritage. Implications of these findings for the language's survival are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1195-1209
Number of pages15
JournalPertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Dialect
  • Diglossia
  • Globalisation
  • Language death
  • Language replacement
  • Modern Standard Arabic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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