The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC) has unveiled a range of strategic indicators designed to assess general impressions of the Arabic language in the knowledge, culture, and creative industries, and measure the extent of its use in traditional and digital media for native and non-native speakers in the emirate.

These form a major part of the ALC’s vision to advance the Arabic language in cultural, creative and intellectual fields, fostering Arabic language development and modernisation and supporting authorship, translation, and publishing.

The indicators were launched following an extensive study that considered the results of field research conducted over the past 12 months, from mid-2021 until the end of June 2022 – which included 6,087 adults residing in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The study findings have been analysed to arrive at a number of indicators revealing the general impressions of Arabic as a language of knowledge, culture, and creativity. Respondents determined the language’s compatibility with each of these elements, and the data was then analysed using an extensive statistical model to determine the correlation between various factors.

The analysis indicated that Arabic came first in people’s impressions – ahead of English – on the creativity metric, which takes into consideration the aesthetics of the language and the extent of its use in creative content.

Arabic also came out on top on the culture metric, which focuses on historical and cultural heritage. Meanwhile, English excelled in the knowledge metric, given the availability and scope of scientific and research content.

“Comparing the Arabic and English languages on the overall index reveals that the general impression of both languages is somewhat similar,” said ALC Chairman Dr Ali bin Tamim. “This is the result of the inclusive and diverse demographic structure in Abu Dhabi, where Arabic-speaking citizens and residents from other Arab countries live side-by-side with people who speak other languages.

With that in mind, it is only natural that the two languages have a similar general perception. However, the differences in the composition of the index have provided deeper and very useful insight into cultural, creative, and intellectual factors.”

The study also assessed the level of comprehension and use of simple Arabic among non-native speakers, which scored 26.7 per cent in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Bin Tamim added: “These results form a solid foundation for us to launch our strategic programmes targeting non-Arabic speakers. These include ‘We Speak Arabic’, which was launched at the beginning of the year to teach simplified Arabic to non-Arabic speakers of all ages in Abu Dhabi. The programme uses digital platforms to enable learners to pick up some Arabic vocabulary quickly and easily.

Since the launch of the programme, the results of the index indicated the increase of 3.4 decimal points. Our research indicates that 64 per cent of non-Arabic speaking residents in the emirate would like to learn Arabic.”

The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre aims to promoting the Arabic language and strengthen its global status across various fields of use, from knowledge to science, culture, and creativity. To that end, the centre has launched a range of programmes in the emirate, including the Kalima Project for Translation, which aims to support translation efforts for literary and intellectual works in the Arab world.

The project targets publications from various global languages in a bid to offer Arab readers a wide set of options for reading.

The ALC also aims to drive research in Arabic, and has recently launched a research grant programme that focuses on the language. The first of its kind, it aims to promote impactful scientific research in various fields of culture and knowledge, as well as to encourage the study of Arab heritage.

The ALC additionally launched the Al Markaz: The Journal of Arab Studies published in collaboration with the Brill Foundation in early 2022.


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