Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number 4 December 2022                                 Pp.183-195

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The Influence of Product Gender on Frequency of Code-switching in Online Advertisements: A
Study on the Saudi Digital Marketing Platform Maroof

Mohammad Almoaily
Department of English Language and Literature
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, King Saud University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Received:06/08/2022         Accepted:11/16/2022                 Published:12/15/2022


Code-switching can be a successful marketing strategy in online advertisements even when the targeted audience is monolingual. Yet, little research was conducted on its frequency or attitudes towards it, especially in the Middle Eastern context. Additionally, most current research on code-switching is on bilingual communities. Such gaps in the literature contribute to the significance of the current study. Therefore, this paper is an attempt to investigate whether gender is a factor influencing both the frequency and the preferences of code-switching in online written advertisements listed on Maroof, a Saudi governmental platform for verifying local online shops. Two questions were formulated to determine if code-switching frequency in advertisements for male and female products is statistically different and to check whether the targeted recipients have different code-choice preferences depending on the gender for which the product is made. A textual analysis and an online questionnaire were employed to answer these research questions. Fifty randomly selected online shops containing products for women were compared with fifty other shops advertising men’s products. The advertisements were mostly Arabic monolingual for both groups (82% in men’s products and 76% in women’s products). However, the group of women’s products had a significantly higher frequency of code-switching, with a p-value of 0.46. A questionnaire completed by 936 Saudi respondents revealed that English monolingual advertisements are favored by a considerable number of respondents, despite their complete absence in the sampled advertisements. The questionnaire also revealed that code-switching preferences seem to be influenced by linguistic constraints.
Keywords: advertisement, Arabic, code-switching, digital marketing, gender

Cite as:  Almoaily, M.  (2022). The Influence of Product Gender on Frequency of Code-switching in Online Advertisements: A
Study on the Saudi Digital Marketing Platform Maroof.  Arab World English Journal, 13 (4) 183-195. DOI:


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Received: 06/08/2022
Accepted: 11/16/2022 
Published: 12/15/2022 

Mohammad Almoaily has a PhD degree in linguistics from Newcastle University, UK. He is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Department of English Language and Literature at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, King Saud University. His research interests are language variation, language change, politeness, and language contact. ORCiD ID: 0000-0002-7804-499X.