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Global English and Arabic

Issues of Language, Culture, and Identity

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Edited By Ahmad Al-Issa and Laila S. Dahan

This volume contains selected chapters from researchers and scholars concerning global English in the Arab world. It brings a new perspective to the phenomenon of global English as today’s lingua franca by focusing on an area of the world that is troubled by the spread of English. The book goes to the heart of a linguistic dilemma: the impact of global English on the Arabic language, Arab culture, and identity. New empirical evidence and insights into this problem are presented by a variety of researchers. The majority raise concerns about the long-term viability of Modern Standard Arabic in the face of global English. In light of the ever-expanding growth of global English, this book gives voice to the worries of people in the Arab world about maintaining their language, culture, and identity.

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Silvia Pessoa and Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar - 6 The Impact of English-medium Higher Education: The Case of Qatar -153

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Silvia Pessoa and Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar 6 The Impact of English-medium Higher Education: The Case of Qatar Abstract While the spread of English has led to the increasing development of world bilin- gualism and all its benefits, in recent years the colonial heritage of English as the language of western cultural domination has come under scrutiny alongside the rise of globalization. Qatar is no exception to these tensions, particularly as it has invited and encouraged the promotion of English-medium education in order to participate in the era of globalization. While the spread of English in Qatar is in tandem with its modernization and rapid development, some fear that progress is in contradiction with Muslim culture and that the spread of English may cause Arabic language loss. Despite this reality, there has been little documented research on youth attitudes towards English in Qatar because it is generally assumed that the young embrace all signs of modernity without any reservations. This chapter reports on a pilot study examining undergraduate students’ perspectives on the impact of English-medium education on Arab and Muslim culture, language, and identity through a survey, self- assessments of language abilities, focus groups, and personal interviews. Fifty students from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar and Qatar University were surveyed and a sample participated in a focus group or an individual interview. The findings indi- cate that while academic and professional uses of Arabic may be lost in the future, students understand the complexity of their reality embracing their bilingualism and cultural...

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