Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 10. Number 1. March 2019                                                     Pp. 3- 15

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                       Conversing in L2 English with Saudi Arabic (L1) Children at Home 

              Mazen Mansory
            English Language Institute (ELI)
King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Jeddah Saudi Arabia



This qualitatively based research study aims at critically examining the linguistic practises of a particular group of Saudi parents who chose to use the host country’s language (English L2) instead of the mother tongue (Arabic L1) with their children. Specifically, the study aims at answering two research questions: Why Saudi do parents chose to speak English to their child/children? And What are the effects of mostly speaking English on the children and their home language: Arabic? A total of ten participating parents took part in this research study where semi structured interviews were utilised to gather the primary data. Thematic analysis of the data revealed three main emerging themes and six subthemes. The findings from the data analysis revealed that Saudi parents speak English with their children so as to allow them the opportunity to be bilingual and linguistically (English – L2) proficient as well as the fact that those parents were pleased to see their children speak English with a British accent. Also, the analysis revealed that that children of Saudi parents speaking English only has led to the weakening and loss of their Arabic L1 language. The study concludes that parents should provide a linguistic balance for their bilingual children in order to preserve the native language. Additionally, the study recommends that further parallel research studies with bilingual children of various L1(s), are conducted.
Keywords: Bilingualism, critical period hypothesis, language loss, language and identity

Cite as: Mansory, M. (2019). Conversing in L2 English with Saudi Arabic (L1) Children at Home. Arab World English Journal, 10 (1) 3- 15.


Dr Mazin Mansory joined the English Language Institution (formerly the ELC) at King
Abdulaziz University in 2008 after receiving his MA degree in English Language Teaching from
Nottingham Trent University, UK. In the ELC, he contributed to the teaching and development
of the General English and English for Science programmes. As part of his Doctorate thesis at
Exeter University, completed in October 2016, he carried out research on teachers’ roles in
English Language Assessment, which remains a focal point of his research interests. Mazin is
now an Assistant Professor teaching in the MA in TESOL programme in addition to being the
Head of Academic Students’ Affairs Unit at the ELI.