Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume.7 Number.3September , 2016                                                 Pp. 18-30

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Does Arabizi Constitute a Threat to Arabic? 

Ibrahim M R Al-Shaer
Minister of Social Development
State of Palestine




The main goal of this study was to empirically examine the impact of Arabizi (i.e. writing Arabic with English script) on Palestinian students’ Arabic language development. This article seeks to enter the debate over the merits and risks of widespread Arabizi use with a quantitative study of its effects on Arab students. In order to assess whether internet use and Arabizi use affect performance in Arabic fluency, we administered an Arabic spelling test, followed by a brief survey assessing students’ use of Arabizi to 420 eighth grade students in Bethlehem government schools. The overall results show that using Arabizi was correlated with weaker scores on the spelling test, indicating either that Arabizi use harms students Arabic capabilities or that other factors cause students to use Arabizi and to have weak Arabic spelling skills. However, more research must be done to tease out these differences and look beyond correlation.
Key wordsArabizi, Arabic script, language development, sociolinguistics

Cite as: Al-Shaer, I. M. R. (2016). Does Arabizi Constitute a Threat to Arabic? Arab World English Journal, 7(3).


Dr. Ibrahim M R Al-Shaer, Minister of Social Development, State of Palestine. Al-Shaer
holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics and has 25 years of experience in higher education. He is
currently the Minister of Social Development for the State of Palestine and continues his
research in the field of sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, e-learning, construction grammar,
innovation, and creativity.