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Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(9), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7090155

Arabizi in Saudi Arabia: A Deviant Form of Language or Simply a Form of Expression?

1
Department of Applied Linguistics, College of Languages, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh P.O. Box 84428, Saudi Arabia
2
Faculty of Education, University of Canberra, Canberra 2601, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 August 2018 / Revised: 2 September 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 11 September 2018
Full-Text   |   PDF [253 KB, uploaded 11 September 2018]

Abstract

The popularity of social networking sites in the Arab world has resulted in a new writing code, Arabizi, which combines Roman letters and numbers to represent the Arabic language. This new code received vehement criticism from Arabic linguists who argued that Arabizi is detrimental to the Arabic language and Arab identity. Arabizi use, however, has been increasing, especially in Saudi Arabia, a highly conservative and religious society. To address this apparent contradiction, this study investigated the reasons why young Saudi Arabians use Arabizi online and their attitudes towards its use. The research was based on 131 questionnaires distributed on social networking sites, and 20 interviews conducted with Saudi users of Arabizi. The findings suggest participants use Arabizi because (1), it is the language of their peers, (2) it is cool and stylish, (3) they have difficulties with the Arabic language, and (4) Arabizi constitutes a secret code, allowing escape from judgements of the older generation. The study concludes that Arabizi is a strong marker of Arab youth identity and group solidarity. View Full-Text
Keywords: sociolinguistics; social media; youth language; Arabizi; snowball sampling; netspeak sociolinguistics; social media; youth language; Arabizi; snowball sampling; netspeak
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Alghamdi, H.; Petraki, E. Arabizi in Saudi Arabia: A Deviant Form of Language or Simply a Form of Expression? Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 155.

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