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Arabic Language Planning in Egypt: An Interdisciplinary Approach


Marshall 490
845 N Park Ave
85721 Tucson , AZ


Fri, 04/14/2017 - 3:00pm


Part of the 2017 MENAS Colloquium Series

Mahmoud Azaz, Assistant Professor of Arabic Language & Linguistics, School of Middle Eastern & North African Studies

Mary Carol Combs,  Associate Professor, Department of Teaching, Learning, and Socio Cultural Studies

Olga Bever, Assistant Research Professor in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

According to some policymakers and intellectuals in the Arab world, sweeping globalization processes have created ‘an alarming’ linguistic situation in which the status of Standard Arabic (SA) is seriously dwindling. ‘Englishization’ and ‘dialectization’ have substantially penetrated the economic, political, and cultural domains, and thus has created ‘a serious crisis’ that is shaking the status and functions of SA, the marker of the Arab identify. Egypt, a leading country in the region, developed a number of language promotion initiatives to face an alarming situation. However, these were deemed unsuccessful due to the lack of clear vision and effective implementation strategies. In this talk, the presenters critically evaluate the existing promotion policies of SA in Egypt and the interconnections among status planning, corpus planning, and acquisition planning. They present preliminary results of an extensive survey that was conducted with Egyptian teachers of Arabic, Arabic linguists and intellectuals, and policy makers. In addition, they examine a sample of an existent SA curriculum to examine the integration of SA global functions. This research project is expected to develop an (alternative) interdisciplinary language-planning model for Standard Arabic in Egypt. This model rests on (1) the interconnections among status planning, corpus planning, and acquisition planning; (2) the development and maintenance of practical implementation mechanism and (3) the role of SA language education.
This research project is currently supported by a Confluencenter Faculty Collaboration Grant from the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry at the University of Arizona.   


Mahmoud Azaz is Assistant Professor of Arabic Language and Linguistics in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies. He holds a Ph.D. with Distinction in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching from the University of Arizona. His research interests include linguistic approaches to Arabic second language acquisition, Arabic pedagogy, and Arabic sociolinguistics. Articles by Dr. Azaz came out in journals such as Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism (John Benjamins), the International Journal of Applied Linguistics (Wiley & Sons), the Foreign Language Annals (Wiley & Sons), and Al-ʿArabiyya (Georgetown University Press). Dr. Azaz received research grants from the UA Office for Research & Discover, the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry, and the Social and Behavioral Science Research Institute (SBSRI). He is currently working on a research project on formal features acquisition in Arabic.      
Mary Carol Combs is Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies, University of Arizona, in Tucson. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in bilingual education, English as a second language methods, Indigenous language revitalization, language policy and planning, and critical pedagogy. Her research interests include language and education policy and law, sociocultural theory, immigration and education, second language acquisition, sheltered instruction and teacher preparation for immigrant and citizen second language learners. Her published works focus on the intersectionality between these issues and their implications for teachers, students and schools in the Southwestern United States.  
Olga Bever is Assistant Research Professor in SBS. She received her PhD in Language, Reading and Culture from the University of Arizona. Her research is focused on the intersection of language policy, language education and language use as local, national and global phenomena. She is known for her work on linguistic landscapes, multilingualism and multimodality. She has published a number of articles, participated in national and international conferences, and developed ongoing collaboration with scholars around the world.