Hundreds of Arabic language teachers gathered this past Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in front of the Riyadh Ministry of Education building demanding jobs, according to ArabNews. Some protesters apparently were taken to a nearby hospital after suffering heat exhaustion. Perhaps you, like Elias Muhanna, don't go in for the "Arabic is dying" … Continue reading Jobless Arabic Teachers in Saudi Stage Protest
Elias Muhanna, the blogger behind Qifa Nabki (which usually discusses Lebanese politics, but every so often talks linguistics), has an article in today's The National about the so-called death of Arabic. Muhanna agrees that there are special issues in Qatar, the UAE, and Lebanon. But elsewhere in the Arabic-speaking world, Arabic is...flourishing. Muhanna notes that … Continue reading Elias Muhanna: Arabic’s Not Dying, It’s Being (Re)born
In this week's Al Ahram Weekly, Nader Habib calls Gamal Hammad one of "the Arabic language's guardian angels." Hammad, who is a linguist, literary critic, and historian, is best known for his Forms of Narrative in the Arabic Prose Legacy. Al Ahram asked him about his views on indigenous Arabic literary theory: Deconstruction or the … Continue reading New Thoughts on the Origins of the Arabic Novel from One of the Language’s ‘Guardian Angels’
So sayeth Marie Therese AbdulMessih, professor of English and Comparative Literature at Kuwait University. She was quoted by The Kuwait Times, which yesterday jumped on the popular question of whether Arabic is dying. I found AbdulMessih's ideas about the Arabic language a little difficult to follow: The language is not dying because it's at it's … Continue reading Arabic Literature ‘At Its Peak’?
A report earlier this week in The National pointed to a (slight?) rise in demand for Arabic titles from the Emirati book-store chain Magrudy's. The newspaper notes: Magrudy’s bookstore says demand for Arabic titles is on the rise, and the books now account for almost 20 per cent of the chain’s book sales. Good grief: … Continue reading Sales of Arabic Books on the Rise…A Bit
The April Economist rebuts arguments made in The National that say, in essence: The sky is falling! Arabic's dying! Indeed, who knows, the sky might be falling. Once the ozone comes unstuck, perhaps the whole tent falls on our heads. But The Economist yawns at the idea that Arabic is dying. It's true, they say, … Continue reading /The Economist/: Arabic is Not Dying, After All
This week, Qantara explores the sometimes-literary Arabic bloggers' magazine, Wasla. The magazine culls from blogs around the Arab world and publishes them in a free print magazine; it's being billed as a bridge between online and offline worlds. The Qantara piece notes that while Elias Khoury and Sonallah Ibrahim have lauded the activities of young … Continue reading P.S.: Is Colloquial Arabic Destroying the (Literary) World? Or Is It the Internet?
I am not a Yalie (Yalawaya?) so generally, the issue of whether Yale's Arabic program is or isn't in turmoil concerns me very little. However, when the director of an Arabic program at a distinguished U.S. university---one that might well be copied by other U.S. universities---declares that fos'ha is dead, well, that gets my attention. … Continue reading Director of Yale University Arabic Program: Fos’ha a ‘Dead’ Language
Finally, The National has a piece about the (so-called) death of Arabic that really gets me. I was unmoved by stories about Arabic's declining use in the Emirates and Qatar; I ignored Bahaa Taher's woe-is-Arabic sighs; I felt superior to Lebanese university students who didn't know their alef, bey, teys. After all, I see the … Continue reading The So-Called Death of Arabic, But I (Sort of) Mean it This Time
Perhaps things just things look different in Egypt, because it's hard for me to grasp these doom-and-gloom views about the Arabic language. Here, after all, Arabic is the language of 60 million (or 70 million, or 90 million---who's counting?) people. Yes, Bahaa Taher can say that Arabic's on the decline, and a handful of elites … Continue reading More About the Death of Arabic: In 20 Years, A Language of Ritual?