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Arabizi trend loses steam among new generations, say language enthusiasts

By Sarah Abu Zaid - Apr 01,2021 - Last updated at Apr 01,2021

Representative image by Amjad Ghsoun

AMMAN — Arabizi, a form of informal Arabic dialect transcribed using a combination of Latin script and Arabic numbers, is losing traction among new generations, according to Arabic language enthusiasts.

Diala Eliyyan, an Arabic teacher, told The Jordan Times that she believes using Arabizi for communication is a way of “perverting” Arabic. She noted that people who are not fluent in English use Arabizi, which makes for a “blurry” use of the Arabic language.

“Some people, especially teenagers, use Arabizi believing it demonstrates modernity,” Eliyyan noted, reiterating that the Arabic language is strong and very well established that Arabizi does not really pose a threat to it.

Nevertheless, Eliyyan expressed concern about the newer generations’ mastery of the mother tongue in light of the intensive focus on English skills as the language of education and work.

Jannet Melhim, another Arabic language teacher, told The Jordan Times that some young people find it easier to communicate in Arabizi as opposed to actual written Arabic.

Haya Othman, a 23-year-old Jordanian commented on the change that took place regarding the impression of Arabizi and its users. “It was once trendy and cool, but it is not the case anymore,” Haya told The Jordan Times.

“I started using Arabizi when I was in high school because everyone was using it. I still write in Arabizi with old friends who are used to me using it in our communications,” she said.

Nevertheless, Haya finds great meaning in the Arabic language. “I would advise younger generations to write in Arabic instead of Arabizi,” she added.

Aya Abdallah, an employee who works at a private company, said that going back to texting in Arabic enhanced her Arabic language skills and made it easier for her to communicate with fellows in her working environment given that it is more professional and formal.

 

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