Arab World English Journal (December, 2017)                               Theses / Dissertation (ID 190)               Pp.1-70

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Author: Maha Abdelrahman Al Hariri Al Zahrani

Thesis Title: A Study on the Impact of Arabic Diglossia on L2 learners of Arabic:  Examining Motivation and Perception.

Subject/major: Linguistics (Bilingualism).

Institution: School of Linguistics, Bangor University Wales, UK

Degree: Master in Linguistics.

Year of award: 2013

Supervisor: Dr. Marco Tamburelli

Keywords: Diglossia, colloquial Arabic, modern standard Arabic, motivation, perception



One of the most distinctive features of the Arabic language is the occurrence of diglossia (Al-Batal, 1995). Diglossia involves the use of two varieties of the same language by the same society for different functions. The principle objective of this independent inquiry is to study the impact of Arabic diglossia on L2 learners of Arabic studying this language in the native Arab environment i.e. Saudi Arabia, which is the centre of MSA variety of Arabic. This study also aimed at understanding the effect of awareness about Arabic diglossia on the motivation of L2 learners. Qualitative methodology has been used to gain an in-depth view of the perceptions and the motivation level of L2 learners in two language institutes in Saudi Arabia. The primary data has been collected through self-administered questionnaires from 15 participants studying Arabic at various stages of language learning in the selected language institutes. The secondary data has been taken from various past researchers and literary works related to the topic of this dissertation. It has been found that the L2 learners of Arabic are generally aware of the Arabic diglossia and understand the functional differences between CA and MSA, but this situation doesn’t significantly affect their learning progress as assessed by their academic learning progress before and after attending the language centre and their willingness to continue learning the Arabic language. Indeed, learners studying at advanced stages of Arabic find the diglossic situation motivating and challenging, unlike the starters who were negatively affected (demotivated) by the presence of multiple varieties of Arabic as they find it an intimidating task to learn multiple varieties of Arabic under the umbrella of learning one language.Additionally, social circle and the number native Arabic speaking people around the L2 learners of Arabic have a huge impact on the motivation level of the learners who not only get a higher exposure to CA but also learn the spoken variety from their peers which in return positively motivate them to learn Arabic in the native Arab setting

Cite as:  Al Zahrani, M. A. A. (2013). A Study on the Impact of Arabic Diglossia on L2 learners of Arabic:  Examining Motivation and Perception School of Linguistics, Bangor University Wales, UK. (Master’s Thesis). Retrieved from (Arab World English Journal Database. (ID Number: 190, December 2017).  DOI: