Standard Arabic and Diglossia: A Problem for Language Education in the Arab World
Turki Ahmad Ali Bani-Khaled

This paper examines some scholarly linguistic attitudes regarding the concepts of Standard Arabic and Diglossia in the available literature of sociolinguistics and education. The study also seeks to highlight salient research themes over the past decades and draw possible implications for education and literacy with particular reference to the Arab situation. To this end, a survey of the literature reported in English-medium journals was conducted. The data involved a corpus of (28) research articles drawn from a number of journals known in the field. Five themes were identified in the data. These were (1) Arabic is a diglossic language, (2) standard Arabic as a mother tongue, (3) diglossia and education, (4) learning standard Arabic as a foreign language, and (5) standard Arabic and EFL. The results suggest that diglossic Arabic is still a hot issue and the division has negative and serious impacts on acquiring general literacy in both Arabic and foreign languages such as English. These trends are discussed with reference to implications for the wider educational context in the Arab World.

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