AWEJ Volume.4 Number.3, 2013                                                                        Pp.52-62

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Arabizi: An Analysis of the Romanization of the Arabic Script from a Sociolinguistic Perspective

 Wid H. Allehaiby
King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The purpose of this paper is to present a sociolinguistic analysis of the Romanization of the Arabic Script phenomenon better known as Arabizi. Arabizi is a widely used alternative for the Arabic script in computer-mediated contexts (CMC) and social networking sites, which has emerged as a result of the Arabic script being unsupported in technological tools and Internet resources. Arabic speakers have taken different stances to using Arabizi. In this paper, the following issues are discussed: the historical emergence of Arabizi, a thorough explanation of the script, its characters and its features, the social contexts in which users utilize it, and the different attitudes of Arabic speakers towards its use.

Keywords: Arabic Script, Arabizi, Romanization, sociolinguistics, speakers’ attitudes


Wid Allehaiby has graduated in 2013 with a Master‟s of Arts degree in Teaching English to
Speakers of Other Language from the University of Northern Iowa in US. She has worked as an
English Teaching Assistant at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences ( KSAUHS), Saudi Arabia. She is now a Lecturer at KSAU-HS and is a recipient of King Abdullah
Scholarship Program to pursue a Ph.D. degree in Applied Linguistics in the US.